Blue Origin was founded in 2000, SpaceX in 2002. But so far, Blue Origin has only conducted Sub-orbital launches while SpaceX has launched high profile missions like DART. Can Blue Origin actually do much in space?

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    $\begingroup$ JWST was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket. $\endgroup$
    – JFL
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ Where did you get the idea SpaceX was founded in 2008? Its older than Blue Origin $\endgroup$
    – Puffin
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ Just to clarify: Blue Origin was founded in 2000, SpaceX was founded in 2002. Despite just two years difference, Blue Origin is very much an old space twentieth century company where as SpaceX is a new space twenty first century company. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't redundancy the whole point of NASA pursuing commercial contracts in the first place? So that if one launch system was emergency grounded (like the Shuttle was) they would have a totally unrelated system in their back pocket? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @DekoRevinio a LOT of constructive feedback and correct information is being given, including an upvoted answer. Downvotes are still appropriate for questions and answers the community judges as not adding value to the site, and can be changed over time if the question/answer does. This is not hate, it is how the site works. $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 0:08

2 Answers 2


Blue Origin and SpaceX have two very different goals. They also have very different development philosophies.

Blue Origin's goal is to move loud, polluting, dirty, and otherwise undesirable heavy industry into low Earth orbit: chemical plants, that kind of stuff. SpaceX is not interested in any of that.

Blue Origin is building a space station in LEO. They have a contract with NASA for development of the space station. SpaceX has no interest in that.

SpaceX's goal is to make humanity a multi-planetary species by building a self-sustaining colony on Mars. They have no real interest in LEO or even the Moon.

Furthermore, Blue Origin is very secretive in its development. This is in stark contrast to SpaceX, who are developing Starship completely in the open, literally in a dirt field on the side of a public road. For all we know, Blue Origin could roll out and launch New Glenn tomorrow. (Very unlikely, but the point is: we can't really tell how far development of New Glenn has progressed, whereas we can tell that Starship and its ground infrastructure are not ready.)

In addition to all of that, Blue Origin is providing the engines for ULA's Vulcan first stage. Without Blue Origin, ULA would have no launch vehicle.

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    $\begingroup$ But why do we need the ULA we have enough small, medium, heavy lift, and even super heavies around. $\endgroup$
    – A. N Asker
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 6:56
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    $\begingroup$ @user49512 was your question about ULA or Blue Origin? please make sure you know what you want to ask before posting, doing some fact checking yourself if required. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ @user49512 we still need ULA so we can have access to reliable rockets that have been around and proven, like Atlas V, Delta IV, and Vulcan. (Vulcan isn't that old though.) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ Re This is in stark contrast to SpaceX -- SpaceX is extremely secretive regarding technical details. SpaceX isn't nearly as concerned with Blue Origin as they are of China. China is well known for having near zero respect for ignoring international intellectual property law. That's why SpaceX doesn't patent, and also why it's websites, etc., are completely void of technical details. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidHammen you're right about the patents, but SpaceX gives details like vehicle masses, construction materials and techniques, thrust and specific impulse values, etc. We don't even know the specific impulse for any of Blue Origin's engines. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 19:59

Is Blue Origin redundant?

That's the intent. Both NASA and the Department of Defense want multiple providers for their launch systems.

When there's only one provider for a given item, that one provider can charge whatever they think they can get away with. In addition, there are other issues beyond a monopoly charging whatever they think they can get away with. What if the product is found to be fatally flawed in some circumstances? What if the monopoly suffers economically, declares bankruptcy, and stops providing the key item the US government needs? There are lots of other what-ifs that make the US government want redundancy in its commercial suppliers.


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