Pentagon Sponsors Blue Origin’s Upcoming Blue Ring Orbital Platform Test


Key Takeaways:

– Jeff Bezos’ space venture, Blue Origin, is set to test its Blue Ring orbital platform in an upcoming mission backed by the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit.

– The mission, DarkSky-1, is expected to be launched as a payload in a future national-security space launch by U.S. Space Force.

– The launch service provider and exact timeline for the launch remain undisclosed, yet according to an FCC license application, the launch is slated for the final quarter of this year.

– The Defense Department has reportedly awarded Blue Origin $4.9 million to develop multi-orbit logistics vehicles.


Blue Origin, the space venture owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced future plans for testing its Blue Ring orbital platform. Expected in a mission known as DarkSky-1, the test will be sponsored by the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit.

Testing Ground for Future Space Services

The Blue Ring is a multi-mission, multi-orbit vehicle being crafted to support various logistical services in orbit. The forthcoming Pentagon-backed mission aims to gauge the functionality of Blue Origin’s flight systems including its space-based data processing and storage capacities. Other areas of measurement include its ground-based radiometric tracking and Blue Ring’s telemetry, tracking, and command hardware or TT&C.

Blue Origin’s SVP of the In-Space Systems business unit, Paul Ebertz confidently stated that the lessons derived from DarkSky-1 would generate a significant leap forward for Blue Ring. This progress, he noted, would increase the company’s ability to access multiple orbits, inching it closer to its vision of promoting space workplaces for millions.

DarkSky-1: A Step Into the Unknown

While the launch service provider and exact launch timeframe are yet to be disclosed, Blue Origin hinted at a possible fourth quarter launch in the 2022 FCC license application. The lengthy silence on these details continues to fuel the suspense surrounding DarkSky-1. Additionally, the spacecraft is slated to remain attached to the launch vehicle’s upper stage. Maintaining an elliptical orbit ranging from 1,550 to 13,000 miles in altitude, the mission ought to last no more than 12 hours according to Blue Origin’s declaration in the application.

Contract filings have revealed that the Defense Department awarded Blue Origin $4.9 million for developing multi-orbit logistical vehicles. As to the cost of DarkSky-1, Blue Origin remains mute, leaving the financial scale of this ambitious project unknown.

Despite the surrounding uncertainties, the anticipated benefits for Blue Origin from DarkSky-1 are immense. More than just an exercise, the mission embodies a crucial step in the realization of the company’s expansive vision: populating space. The success of the Blue Ring platform presents a cornerstone in normalizing space utilization for work and life.

Final Thoughts

From the drawing board to a Pentagon-backed mission, the Blue Ring has showcased Blue Origin’s commitment to revolutionizing space services. While the exact details remain concealed, anticipation builds up towards DarkSky-1’s expected execution in the fourth quarter of 2022.

As information trickles in, we promptly update our readers on the Blue Origin journey. The quest to steer humanity into space work-living is without doubt ambitious. Yet with the intense preparation and substantial investment, it’s one step away from becoming reality.

Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne is the CEO and Founder of Livy.AI

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