Blue Orign's New Glenn rocket awaits tank testing at the pad.Blue Origin seems to be shooting for the stars these days. The Kent, Washington company just won a hefty slice of the Department of Defense’s $5.6 million contract for a new round of national security launches.

Even though the orbital-class New Glenn has not yet taken flight, it is not eligible to compete for some of the Pentagon’s most sensitive launches.

The first phase runs through mid-2029. Seven companies competed, but only Blue Origin, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance were selected. The first launch of New Glenn is slated for this fall. It is currently undergoing pre-flight testing at Blue Origin’s new production facility by the Florida launch complex. While Washington would have loved to build the rocket, making a left turn at Albuquerque with a 322-foot launch vehicle is problematic. So Blue Origin does its design and engineering work in Washington, along with some sub-assemblies, rocket motors, and, in an unrelated pursuit in Kirkland, satellites.

The New Glenn is in the running for two launch contracts in the initial order: one covering seven launches for the Space Development Agency and another for the National Reconnaissance Office. Some funding is also set aside to conduct mission assurance capabilities assessments. As the new kid on the block, Blue Origin gets the lion’s share of that pot of funds, $5 million, compared to $1.5 million each for SpaceX and ULA.

Over the next five years, Space Systems Command expects to launch 30 of the Lane 1 missions, as they are known. These missions are more like commercial launches that have more acceptable risk attached to them, compared to Lane 2, which have near-zero margins for error.

Read all about it in GeekWire…