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ULA Vulcan launcher: updates

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Draggendrop    5,747

I think SpaceX has the right approach, to not only reduce launch cost's, but to also become very adept at automated landings, which will become very important in the near future, for off world deployments, of their soon to be "fleet".

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DocM    16,342

Back in the day the intelligence guys used to pluck returning Corona capsules full of spysat film out of the air using choppers, but they were only about half a tonne tops. The slightly lighter Genesis mission return capsule was supposed to be retrieved in this manner by a stunt pilot,  but the chutes failed and it hit the desert floor at terminal velocity. Test run below.

 ULA is talking something ~40x that mass. It may be possible, but I'll believe it when I see it. There's also the possibility of losing the chopper crew if anything goes south.

Genesis_retrieval.jpg

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Draggendrop    5,747

I remember hearing about troop extraction by Herc, where the hook would capture the raised line, and a bit of "bungy" to lessen the shock on the soldier involved. But ULA's approach seems like recapturing a LAPES drop, before it hits the ground....tough one...not being a static lift or capture, something must take the kick...., and they won't have all day to track it down, get in position, and match speed/drop closely....The way I look at it, SpaceX should be landing a few unit's by then, and it's up to ULA to "show" or "eat crow".

side note...On ship,we had a hard enough time hooking up a strop to a sling load at sea...let alone doing this..... :s

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

Agreed with all the above. It's too much weight to do a grab with, and there's little chance that they could get into position in time. And if they do all of that, all bets are off whether the Heli can bear the weight, whether the Parafoil won't break, etc. Too many things that can go wrong in a very short amount of time. And half of them WILL kill the Heli Crew.

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malenfant    26

I like the economic premise behind their approach -90% of the value recovered etc. But the more I think on it the whole scheme seems too close to the margins performance wise. The inflatable hypersonic re-entry, the air capture... the first close call or loss of a heli crew and the whole thing is done with.

The airbus conventional re-entry and turboprop landing scheme looks more promising.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Defense Bill Curbs ULA Use of Russian Engines but Draws Veto Threat 

RD180_ULA-869x485-869x485.thumb.jpg.104d
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2016 NDAA, which exempted a total of nine RD-180 engines, prevailed in the compromise bill hashed out by House and Senate conferees. Credit: ULA 

WASHINGTON — U.S. House and Senate negotiators completed work Sept. 29 on a defense authorization bill for 2016 that gives government launch services provider United Launch Alliance access to far fewer Russian-made engines than the company says it needs to stay viable in its core national security market as it develops a new rocket featuring a domestic propulsion system.

However, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama on Sept. 30 reiterated its threat to veto the legislation over its proposed use of an emergency wartime spending account to fund military activities that are not related to contingency operations. The White House has accused Congress of using the Overseas Contingency Operations account to skirt spending caps, imposed by the 2010 Budget Control Act, for the military while keeping them in place for domestic programs.

In addition the Russian engine limitation, the conference bill, dubbed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, would end annual U.S. Air Force payments to ULA that critics have long branded as a subsidy.

The Air Force recently made what presumably is the last such payment, an $882 million Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Launch Capability contract modification that covers Atlas 5 and Delta 4 launch services during fiscal year 2016, the Defense Department announced Sept. 29. EELV Launch Capability contracts, awarded annually, cover services not necessarily associated with a given launch, making it difficult to put an exact price point on individual ULA missions.

But the limitation on access to the Russian-built RD-180, the main engine on the Atlas 5, represents a potentially bigger problem for Denver-based ULA, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture that since its 2006 creation has effectively had the government launch services market all to itself. Now facing a competitive challenge from upstart SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, ULA is planning to introduce a new launcher dubbed Vulcan around 2020 but needs to continue launching its workhorse Atlas 5 in the meantime to stay in the game.

Congress banned future use of Russian engines for U.S. national security launches in the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2015 in response to Russia’s 2014 incursion into neighboring Ukraine. The ban exempted five RD-180s that were already on order at the time of the law’s enactment, according to the Air Force and ULA, who have pushed Congress for access to more engines.

The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2016 NDAA would have granted access to an additional nine engines, making a total of 14 available for future Air Force competitions. But the Senate committee’s version, reflecting the wishes of its chairman, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a frequent ULA critic, exempted just four more engines, for a total of nine. The Senate position prevailed in the compromise bill hashed out by House and Senate conferees.

ULA has said it is retiring all but the heavy-lift version of its Delta 4 rocket in the next couple of years because it is too expensive to be competitive. There is no heavy-lift version of the Atlas 5, but that rocket is far less expensive and thus is used far more frequently — including exclusively by NASA, whose launches are not subject to the RD-180 ban.

 

 

ULA ultimately plans to replace the Atlas 5 with the Vulcan, whose first stage would be powered by the BE-4 engine being developed by Kent, Washington-based Blue Origin, but envisions at least a couple of years of overlapping operations between the two vehicles. The Air Force has said ULA needs access to at least 18 more RD-180 engines — including the five already exempted — to remain competitive with SpaceX’s aggressively priced Falcon 9 rocket in the national security market over the next several years.

In a statement provided to SpaceNews by ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye, the company said, “Congress’ actions in the NDAA are a beginning to providing a transition from the Atlas V to a future all-American rocket and engine. While the RD-180 engines authorized by Congress are a start, the number authorized will unfortunately not be enough to keep Atlas flying to support national security needs until Vulcan is developed, tested and certified.”

ULA said it will continue to work with Congress to secure enough RD-180s to ensure competition in the military launch market.

Report language accompanying the Senate version of the bill has suggested that Atlas 5’s intended for NASA could be repurposed for military use should that become absolutely necessary.

The conference bill contains another measure that could spell trouble for ULA’s current plans: a directive that funding provided by Congress to develop an American alternative to the RD-180 be used for that purpose only. That presumably means the money — Congress appropriated $225 million in 2015 — cannot be used for Vulcan development.

In selecting the BE-4 as its next main engine, ULA effectively spurned U.S. propulsion provider Aerojet Rocketdyne, which is developing an engine dubbed AR1 that it says can be retrofitted with the Atlas 5 relatively easily but would need substantial government funding to complete. ULA is providing some support for AR1 development as a backup option in case Blue Origin falters on the BE-4.

But in choosing the BE-4, which cannot work with the Atlas 5, ULA committed itself to developing a new rocket, which is likely to cost $2 billion or more between the vehicle and the new engine.

ULA has said it would rely on its corporate parents to pay Vulcan’s development costs outside of the BE-4, which Blue Origin is funding internally. To date, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which have booked substantial profit on ULA revenue, have been providing funds for Vulcan work on a quarterly basis.

Craig Cooning, president of Boeing Network and Space Systems of El Segundo, California, and chairman of ULA’s board, said recently that Vulcan should be a government-funded development effort. He also said ULA must have continued access to the RD-180 to stay in business until Vulcan is ready to take over.

Spokespersons for Boeing were not immediately available for comment.

 

http://spacenews.com/defense-bill-limits-ula-to-9-more-russian-built-engines/

Veto it....quick.......

-----------------------------------------------------------------

ULA Wins $882 Million U.S. Air Force Contract 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp <LMT.N> and Boeing Co <BA.N>, has won an $882 million contract to continue launching satellites for the U.S. Air Force with its Delta IV and Atlas V rockets, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The U.S. Defense Department said the contract covers launch capability, mission integration, base and range support, maintenance, depreciation on equipment, mission assurance, program management, systems engineering, and launch site and range operations during fiscal year 2016, which begins Oct. 1.

Air Force and company officials had no immediate comment on how many rocket launches would be included in the contract.

Separately, U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday released a compromise version of the $612 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2016 that would allow ULA to use a total of nine more Russian-built RD-180 rocket engines to compete for military and spy satellite launch contracts using its Atlas V rockets.

ULA and Air Force officials had urged lawmakers to relax a ban on use of the engines imposed last year after Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, to bridge the time until ULA is ready to start flying its new U.S.-powered Vulcan rocket.

The fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill had allowed ULA to use just five engines, but the new bill would add four more.

ULA had argued that it needed to use even more engines to compete with privately held Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, which offers lower prices for its Falcon 9 rockets.

The Air Force earlier this year certified SpaceX to compete for some military and spy satellite launches, which would end the monopoly that ULA has had since its creation in 2006.

 

http://spacenews.com/ula-wins-882-million-u-s-air-force-contract/

Read the second paragraph.....These are the cost's of doing business for any other company, which are priced and included in each individual  launch as per customers wishes......but this is a blatant subsidy, period...... 

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flyingskippy    165

Like buying  a car and the dealer charging a fee to maintain the factory it was built at. Out off 99 launches only 14 were commercial,  and that's using their numbers. ULA's days are numbered. 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Pentagon Mulls Option for More Sole-source Launch Contracts

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Defense Department, which is just now introducing competition into the national security launch market, is simultaneously studying whether to award some contracts on a sole-source basis, presumably to incumbent United Launch Alliance, to ensure that it has at least two rocket families at its disposal for the foreseeable future, a Pentagon spokesman said Oct. 8.

“If it is deemed necessary in order to maintain two viable sources of launch services, sole source allocation of some launches will be one of the options examined,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson said in an Oct. 8. statement.

Retired Gen. Larry Welch, a former Air Force chief of staff, recommended as much earlier this year and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James did not rule out the sole-sourcing of some launch contracts in an Oct. 8 interview with SpaceNews.

In the statement, Hillson said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work has asked the Pentagon’s acquisition czar, Frank Kendall, to “further examine a range of options” to ensure the Defense Department has access to two launch service providers. Results of Kendall’s study are expected before the end of the year, the statement said.

It seems likely that any sole-source contracts would go to ULA, the Air Force’s longtime monopoly launch services provider, which is now facing a stiff competitive challenge from SpaceX, whose prices might be difficult to match.

Congress mandated last year that the Air Force by 2019 end its reliance on the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine that powers the first stage of ULA’s most competitive rocket, the Atlas 5. ULA also operates the Delta 4 rocket that is not affected by the ban, but intends to phase out all but the heaviest version of that vehicle in the coming years due to its high cost.

The RD-180 ban is structured such that ULA only has a limited number of Atlas 5s available for the competitive phase of the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, now underway. The exact number is still a matter of debate.

Denver-based ULA, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture, has 29 RD-180 engines on order from its Russian supplier. Fifteen of those engines are for Air Force launches already under contract and are unaffected by the ban.

Another five have been exempted by the National Defense Authorization act of 2015, the law that imposed the ban in the first place, but ULA says these have been allocated already to nonmilitary customers — an assertion the Air Force has questioned. The Air Force also points out that the compromise version of the NDAA for 2016 would exempt four additional engines, although that bill faces a presidential veto threat over unrelated provisions.

Regardless, ULA says it needs unrestricted access — the ban only affects national security missions — to at least 14 more RD-180s to stay competitive until its next generation Vulcan rocket begins flying around 2020. Air Force officials have put the number at 18-22.

The Vulcan’s first stage would be powered by the BE-4 engine being developed by Blue Origin of Kent, Washington. Congress also has allocated substantial funding to replace the RD-180 with a U.S.-built alternative, but that program has been slow to get started and ULA in any case says its mind is made up on the BE-4, which Blue Origin is funding on its own.

Meanwhile, the first Air Force launch competition in a decade formally began Sept. 30  with the release of a request for proposals to launch a GPS 3 navigation satellite in 2018. Bids are due Nov. 16, but ULA says that barring relief from the ban it will not participate, presumably ceding the contract to Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX.

Emily Shanklin, a SpaceX spokeswoman, declined to comment on the statement.

The current law allows the Air Force to request a waiver from the ban from the secretary of defense if U.S. national security is at stake and no other affordable launch option is available. However, the GPS 3 mission does not appear to meet the criteria, and in any case the Pentagon does not intend to pursue a waiver at this time, Hillson said.

While the Defense Department remains “committed to competition as a way to control cost,” it is prepared to suspend that philosophy in certain instances rather than see ULA driven from the market.

“The Department cannot be in the risky position of relying on only one source of space launch for critical national security satellites that must be launched reliably and on schedule,” the statement read. “With only one source of launch services a failure could lead to a long gap in access to space.”

 

http://spacenews.com/pentagon-mulls-option-for-more-sole-source-launch-contracts/

Like we didn't see this coming.........sole launcher is OK, as long as it's ULA,....apparently.....:/ 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Look's like Big Brother is helping the stray Child.....

Lockheed Martin targets up to four commercial Atlas 5s per year

 

Lockheed Martin’s launch services team hopes to lure up to four commercial customers per year to fly on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 booster as a stream of U.S. government missions is forecast to dry up starting in 2017, according to Lockheed Martin’s rocket sales chief.

For the Atlas 5 marketing team, it represents a significant change after being mired on the sidelines of the multibillion-dollar global launch services market for a half-decade. The first fully commercial Atlas 5 launch from Cape Canaveral in nearly five years took off Oct. 2 with Mexico’s Morelos 3 communications station.

“I go after customers aggressively all the time,” said Steve Skladanek, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, in an interview with Spaceflight Now. “There are a couple of customers who have expressed a desire to launch in late 2016. We’re looking for ways to create a new opportunity toward the end of 2016, working very closely with ULA to create that capability.”

Two issues commonly raised by commercial operators with United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket are its cost and schedule availability — having an opening when a customer wants it.

Asked if that landscape is changing for Atlas 5, Skladanek said: “I can say emphatically yes on both fronts.”

 

 

A block buy of 36 rocket cores by the U.S. military in December 2013 brought down the unit cost of Atlas 5 rockets, Skladanek said. He did not disclose the going price of a commercial Atlas 5 mission — ULA officials last year said the block buy brought the basic “401” Atlas 5 configuration to as little as $100 million for commercial flights — but Skladanek stressed the Atlas 5’s reliability and mission assurance as strengths adding to the launcher’s value in the global market.

The U.S. military’s flagship satellite communications networks — the Air Force’s nuclear-hardened Advanced EHF platforms and the Navy’s MUOS satellites tailored to link forces on the move — will soon be completed. There may also be fewer launches of GPS navigation satellites by ULA.

“Starting in 2017 and on out, we’re seeing less of a government demand on the Atlas vehicle, which obviously is going to open up more opportunities for commercial options,” Skladanek said. “I’ve been marketing those, and customers are very enthused with the availability on our manifest starting in 2017.”

Lockheed Martin announced a launch contract with EchoStar Corp. in August to deliver the EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2 Ka-band broadband communications satellite to orbit in November 2016.

 

The launch deal went to Atlas 5 after production delays meant the satellite would not launch until the second half of 2016, when Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket had no slots to accommodate a large spacecraft like EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2, which is being built by Space Systems/Loral.

The satellite was originally contracted to launch on Ariane 5, but Arianespace officials said they worked with EchoStar to secure a place in the Atlas 5’s manifest in late 2016.

The Ariane 5 typically hauls up two large telecom satellites per mission, and pairing a larger craft with a smaller craft to fit within the rocket’s lift envelope is sometimes a challenge.

The EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2 agreement puts the Lockheed Martin’s Atlas 5 backlog at two flights. Commercial cargo and crew missions to the International Space Station fall in ULA’s order book because the end customer is NASA.

Lockheed Martin is responsible for marketing the Atlas 5 to commercial customers, while ULA handles sales to the U.S. government. For commercial flights, ULA still is in charge of construction of the rocket and launch operations.

ULA has 17 missions on its manifest in 2016, according to Tory Bruno, the company’s chief executive. Twelve of the launches are Atlas 5s, plus four Delta 4s and one Delta 2.

 

 

No more than nine Atlas 5s have ever flown in a calendar year before, and Skladanek did not say whether the opening for a commercial flight in late 2016 would add to ULA’s 17-mission total or replace a government launch already in the queue.

“They’ve worked to identify how they could do that,” Skladanek said. “They’ve shown it to me. It is a possibility, and now it’s simply a matter of working with the customer to see if it’s going to work out for them.”

Attracting commercial customers is vital to maintaining the Atlas 5’s supercharged launch rate — the rocket is in the midst of three launches in 28 days — but Bruno says the commercial market is not sufficient to erase the company’s reservations about a U.S. law that restricts the use of the Atlas 5’s Russian RD-180 main engine in future military launch contracts.

 

 

The debate centers on a clause in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act that limits ULA’s use of Russian RD-180 engines on the Atlas 5 booster stage for U.S. national security space missions, and calls for the complete phaseout of the RD-180 for military launches by 2019. The law says no RD-180 engine paid for after Feb. 1, 2014, when the U.S. government says Russia’s incursion into Crimea began, can be applied toward future launch competitions with SpaceX, which is now certified to fly the Defense Department’s most critical satellite payloads.

The legislation exempts engines slated for launches under the 2013 block buy, plus five more RD-180s. But ULA says it has already committed those five powerplants to other Atlas 5 missions for NASA and commercial customers. An updated defense authorization bill passed by Congress earlier this month gives ULA access to four more engines for military missions, but President Barack Obama has said he will veto the legislation over a disagreement with congressional spending arrangements.

Bruno has threatened to not bid on defense launch contracts until more engines are made available to ULA, and commercial contract wins alone are not enough to build up the Atlas 5’s manifest in coming years to keep the rocket viable, he said.

“This is not enough engines,” Bruno told reporters Oct. 2. “We’re going to need more. We need at least 14, and this provided us four,” assuming President Obama signs the bill into law.

ULA ordered 29 engines from Russia’s NPO Energomash before the 2014 ban, and 15 of the RD-180s will go toward ULA’s block buy commitment, leaving 14 engines purchased and unusable for military launch bids, according to the company.

Bruno said the five engines tied to commercial and civil Atlas 5 launches cannot be re-applied to military missions, and he called for Congress to permit ULA to bid with all 14 engines it had ordered but not paid for before the outbreak of the conflict in Crimea.

He said ULA never made its annual RD-180 engine order from Russian engine-maker NPO Energomash — through the U.S.-based intermediary RD AMROSS — as scheduled earlier this year.

“Because of the uncertainty last year created by the NDAA, we did not purchase RD-180s when we normally would have at the end of the year,” Bruno said. “We have been working our way down through that reserve ever since. We will be in a position of having difficulty managing the flow in the factory very soon.”

Without relief on the RD-180 engine front, or a national security waiver signed by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, ULA will not submit bids on launch competitions with SpaceX, beginning with a procurement for launch of a GPS navigation satellite in 2018.

Proposals for that competition are due Nov. 16.

 

 

 

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk sent a letter to Defense Secretary Carter on Oct. 5, calling ULA’s threat to sit out the GPS 3 launch competition “nothing less than deceptive brinkmanship for the sole purpose of thwarting the will of Congress,” according to a report by Reuters.

Musk called for Carter to not approve a waiver to allow ULA to continue using RD-180s beyond what is spelled out in last year’s defense authorization law.

Bruno said ULA could not justify the expenditure of a fresh engine purchase from Russia without assurances it would have customers to use them. The RD-180 ban does not apply to commercial or NASA launches using the Atlas 5, but even contract wins in those markets are not enough to justify a fresh engine order, according to Bruno.

“In the next several years, the national security space missions continue to be the core of our business — the core market — until they begin to trail down a few years from now,” Bruno said. “With an outright ban on the RD-180, which essentially bans the Atlas from the marketplace, this put a lot of risk and uncertainty into what the future will hold when we purchase long-lead materials like engines. Unlike other defense contractors, we largely fund that ourselves. They have to be ordered in large batches from the Russians, so it is a considerable financial outlay.”

Bruno said ULA has been more successful than he expected at securing commercial launch deals in the last year. Two upcoming launches of Orbital ATK’s commercial Cygnus space station resupply freighter that are now in Atlas 5’s near-term manifest — those flights were booked directly with ULA — and the EchoStar 19/Jupiter 2 contract win were not on ULA or Lockheed’s radar a year ago.

A look at the Atlas 5’s projected manifest later this decade shows openings for two to four commercial satellite flights per year, according to Skladanek. The rest of the Atlas 5’s flights will carry up military satellites, NASA science missions, and astronaut crews to the space station with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule.

On the commercial market, Atlas 5 stacks up against the Ariane 5 rocket and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters, which together have snatched the lion’s share of competed commercial launch contracts in recent years. Russia’s Proton rocket, marketed by International Launch Services, is also a major player.

“As far as the cost goes, it is probably the worst kept industry secret that Atlas is a pricey vehicle,” Skladanek said. “We contend that it’s certainly worth it because of its track record and because of its date certainty, and in fact, work with customers to show them how it’s more about value of the launch service, and the value is so much more than just the price … They understand that. That said, we’re still working with ULA to find ways to bring the overall cost down, and we’re finding some success there.”

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/10/14/lockheed-martin-targets-up-to-four-commercial-atlas-5s-per-year/

This was a little long, but sums things up pretty good. They know they are toast, but will stress "quality" for launch costs....this is not a cell phone company!   Get competitive, or head to the door..... 

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DocM    16,342

 

 

http://spacenews.com/ulas-parent-companies-still-support-vulcan-with-caution/#sthash.COcqyxNJ.dpuf

 

 

Quote

 

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Top executives from United Launch Alliance’s parent companies reaffirmed their support for a next-generation Vulcan rocket, but said uncertainty about the best way to end reliance on a Russian rocket engine has caused them to invest cautiously.

In a pair of press briefings March 8 at the Satellite 2016 trade show, Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and Craig Cooning, president of Boeing Space and Network Systems, offered the clearest view to date for how ULA’s parent companies would fund development of Vulcan. Ambrose is the chair of ULA’s board of directors this year. Cooning is vice chair.

The Air Force has so far agreed to invest as much as $201 million in Vulcan under a private-public partnership announced Feb. 29 covering integration of Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine with the Vulcan design. ULA has pledged $134 million toward that specific effort, which covers only a fraction of Vulcan’s total projected development cost.

ULA has yet to put a firm price tag on Vulcan’s development, but in unveiling its proposed next-generation rocket last April at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Tory Bruno, the joint venture’s CEO, said new rockets typically cost $2 billion, including $1 billion for the main engine.

“We see a way to get there based on what the government’s telling us,” Cooning said of Vulcan’s development cost. “If you look at the [internal research and development] that comes with the missions previously booked on United Launch Alliance, together with the government making this investment, there’s enough money.”

For more than a year, Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been investing in the rocket on a quarter-by-quarter basis and the ULA board leaders said this week that the practice would continue.

“We have to be prudent, disciplined stewards of any kind of investment,” Ambrose said. “Vulcan would be like any other investment decision.”

>

 

 

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Beittil    562

Well, I can't blame ULA for trying to stay relevant. But with two of the most notorious 'old space' behemoths being your corporate parent's I am afraid it is just a downhill slide with no chance of recovery :/

 

I can't help but feel that they would brutally snap Vulcan's neck as soon as Congress decides the Air Force must spend only on BE-4 and AR-1 and not a rocket around it...

 

Lol, this whole thing also makes me chuckle over that 'Cislunar-1000 roadmap' nonsense that i see Tory, George & ULA spam on Twitter every now and then. Lockheed/Boeing are so uncomfortable committing to Vulcan that they comb over the numbers every quarter and then say yes/no to its continuation. Does Tory really want us to believe they would ever fall for his Cislunar-1000 dream?

Edited by Beittil

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

SpaceX has publicly indicated that the development cost for Falcon 9 launch vehicle was approximately $300 million. Additionally, approximately $90 million was spent developing the Falcon 1 launch vehicle which did contribute to some extent to the Falcon 9, for a total of $390 million. NASA has verified these costs. - See more at: http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/05/31/nasa-analysis-falcon-9-cheaper-traditional-approach/#sthash.9jDfhKHJ.dpuf

 

ill just leave this here

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Draggendrop    5,747

Reviewers approve early design work on new Vulcan rocket

 

Vulcan_441_Side413201562153PM63-1024x639

Vulcan is visualized here in its 441 configuration. Credit: United Launch Alliance

 

Quote

CAPE CANAVERAL — Work to create a new all-American rocket, the United Launch Alliance Vulcan-Centaur, has passed its first major hurdle for its first flight in three years, officials announced Thursday.

 

The Preliminary Design Review for the next-generation vehicle was recently completed and verified that the rocket will satisfy the criteria for the diverse military, civil and commercial missions it will launch.

 

“The completion of the Vulcan Centaur rocket’s PDR is the first of several major and very exciting milestones in the launch vehicle’s development,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and chief executive officer. “We have a strong path to get to a 2019 flight test of this new, highly-capable American launch vehicle.”

 

The rocket as currently designed will be powered by a pair of BE-4 liquefied natural gas main engines, made by Blue Origin, for 1.1 million pounds of thrust.

 

ULA continues to carry the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-1 kerosene engine as a backup option if the BE-4 is not available in time. A final decision of which engine to pursue will come late this year or early next.

 

The American-powered first stage stems from the fervor to replace the Russian RD-180 engines used by Atlas 5 and use domestic powerplants.

Sitting atop the Vulcan first stage will be the venerable Centaur upper stage that currently flies on Atlas. The Centaur heritage dates back five decades.

 

Up to six strap-on solid-fuel boosters from Orbital ATK will tailor each Vulcan to its given payload, continuing the successful dial-a-rocket approach used by Atlas.

 

“Vulcan Centaur will revolutionize spaceflight and provide affordable, reliable access to space with an American main engine,” said Mark Peller, ULA’s program manager for major development.

 

A later iteration of Vulcan will replace Centaur with the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage, or ACES, that will offer extended mission durations and be powerful enough to replace the Delta 4-Heavy for its most-challenging NRO missions to directly into geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth.

 

The rocket will fulfill the entire spectrum of Defense Department payloads in terms of weight and orbits.

Vulcan rockets will be launched from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral in Florida and Space Launch Complex 3-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/24/reviewers-approve-early-design-work-on-new-vulcan-rocket/

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

It might as well be called the Delta V. It's a modest bump in technologies and design approaches. And it's still going to use Centaur while they transition into ACES (which is no guarantee that it'll ever take shape in its' own right the way things are going).

 

Yeah. Not much to see here, from my vantage point.

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Draggendrop    5,747

It also has an aura of Proton...may be just me....keep throwing the strap on's to it, till it goes up...:woot:

 

One step past power point....

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Draggendrop    5,747

Swiss company to build Vulcan fairings, composite structures

 

vulcan_400series1.jpg

Artist’s concept of a Vulcan rocket with a 4-meter payload fairing made by Ruag Space. Credit: ULA

 

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United Launch Alliance plans to introduce a new payload fairing design on the next-generation Vulcan rocket, which will fly with composite parts made by Switzerland-based Ruag Space, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday.

 

Ruag already builds 5.4-meter (17.7-foot) diameter nose cones in Switzerland for the Atlas 5 rocket’s 500 series, while ULA manufactures the smaller 4-meter (13.1-foot) fairing at its own facility in Harlingen, Texas.

 

A new agreement signed by ULA and Ruag, and announced this week, calls for all Vulcan payload fairing production to be based at ULA’s rocket factory in Decatur, Alabama.

 

Ruag Space said in a statement Wednesday that flight hardware production in Alabama will begin in 2018, and the new fairings will be ready in time for the first flight of the Vulcan rocket at the end of 2019.

 

Like the Atlas 5, the Vulcan launcher’s clamshell-like fairings will come in two designs — 5-meter and 4-meter sizes — depending on the dimensions of the payload assigned to each flight.

 

“Starting in 2019, Ruag will supply a second type of payload fairing that will be smaller than the one it currently delivers,” Ruag said. “Both fairings are to be used on ULA’s new Vulcan launcher as well. Located at the tip of the launcher, the payload fairing houses the satellites, gives the rocket its aerodynamic shape and protects the delicate cargo.”

 

The Atlas 5’s metallic 4-meter fairing will be phased out with the Vulcan rocket, and the new Ruag-built nose cones may also fly on Atlas 5s before that launcher’s retirement in the early 2020s, according to Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO.

 

Bruno said Ruag Space is “going to take on all of our composite structures work, and they’re going to bring some very advanced composite manufacturing technologies that they have in their factory in Switzerland, they’re going to bring all of that to Decatur.”

av_gpsiif12_r224201692509PM63.jpg

File photo of an Atlas 5 rocket with a 4-meter metallic fairing. Credit: ULA

 

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Orbital ATK and Ruag Space currently produce most of the composite structures for ULA’s Atlas and Delta rocket fleets.

 

Bruno said ULA’s Harlingen site will continue fabricating other metallic structures for the Atlas 5 and Vulcan.

 

The composite 4-meter fairing to be made by Ruag is similar to the design of the Atlas 5’s existing 5-meter nose cone.

 

“It’s definitely going to cut in on Vulcan Centaur,” Bruno said Wednesday in an interview with Spaceflight Now at the 32nd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. “It may cut in on Atlas. We haven’t decided yet if there’s a good place to bring it in.”

more at the link...

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/04/14/swiss-company-to-build-vulcan-fairings-composite-structures/

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DocM    16,342

BE-4 may not be a lock for Vulcan, and it's still being funded quarterly. 

 

http://spacenews.com/decision-on-vulcan-engine-could-slip-to-2017/#sthash.gjP87Dr1.dpuf

 

Decision on Vulcan engine could slip to 2017



KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A decision on what engine will power United Launch Alliance’s next-generation Vulcan rocket could be pushed back until next spring depending on the timing of a key engine test, ULA’s chief executive said Sept. 8.

In an interview here shortly before the successful Atlas 5 launch of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, Tory Bruno said a decision on whether to use the BE-4 engine under development by Blue Origin was pending a full-scale engine test that had been expected by late this year.

“It’s really tied not so much to the calendar but to a technical event,” Bruno said of the schedule for an engine decision. “We want to have a full-scale static firing of the BE-4, so that we understand that it’s going to hit its performance and it’s going to be stable.”

“That may occur by the end of the year, but I could see it moving into the spring a little bit, to make sure we have enough test data and we feel confident about where we’re at,” he added.

He emphasized that the BE-4 remained the “primary path” to be used on the first stage of the Vulcan, ahead of the AR1 engine under development by Aerojet Rocketdyne. “They’re out in front,” Bruno said of the BE-4.

Bruno also confirmed that development of Vulcan is still being approved on a quarterly basis by ULA’s board of directors, comprised of executives from its corporate parents, Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Those regular reviews, he said, have not posed a problem for work on Vulcan.
>

 

And.... 

 

AFRL Technology Demonstration Program Gives Boost to AR1 Engine



 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), successfully completed its final test series on its sub-scale oxygen rich preburner as part of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator (HBTD) program. Aerojet Rocketdyne tested the preburner at full power and full duration to provide key insights for future engines that use this engine cycle.

The HBTD program is developing key technologies for rocket engines that employ an oxygen-rich staged combustion (ORSC) engine cycle – the same cycle that is used for the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR1 engine – a potential replacement engine for the Russian RD-180. The reusable HBTD demonstrator engine is a 250,000 lbf thrust class engine that is capable of up to 100 flights, and features high-performance, long-life technologies and modern materials.

“The large quantity of data gathered during this test series is invaluable in anchoring the analytical models that were developed for use with this and future engine programs. We incorporated a novel fuel and oxidizer mixing technology in the preburner design, which yielded an extremely uniform gas temperature throughout the engine,” said Joe Burnett, Aerojet Rocketdyne program manager of the Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator program. “Consistent gas temperatures in an engine are critical for turbomachinery performance.”

“At Aerojet Rocketdyne, we evolve rocket science. The Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator program is key to a state-of-the-art oxygen-rich staged combustion engine with components that include modern materials using advanced manufacturing techniques,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “What we’ve learned will be instrumental as other engines are developed using this same engine cycle, such as our AR1 engine.”

The series of successful tests also marked the first use of the Mondaloy 200™ super alloy, which was developed jointly by Aerojet Rocketdyne and the AFRL Materials Directorate. Mondaloy 200™ is an enabling technology for rocket engines that employ the ORSC engine cycle because of its high-strength and burn resistance properties.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at www.Rocket.com and www.AerojetRocketdyne.com.


 

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DocM    16,342

Another set of nails in the Delta IV and AR-1 coffins.


Tory Bruno @torybruno


Ushering in a new era in Space Transportation.  Signed the Vulcan Centaur Certification Plan (CRADA) today with LTG Greaves. #GoVulcan
>
Znapel @Znapel
@torybruno Does this mean Vulcan/BE-4 are basically a go, save for some crazy outcome of full-scale testing?
>
Tory Bruno @torybruno
@Znapel More or less. Several factors in the engine downselection criteria; technical risk, performance, financial, etc

 

http://www.losangeles.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/957190/smc-ula-enter-into-crada-to-certify-vulcan-launch-vehicle#.V-r1w9jU6IA.facebook

 

The Space and Missile Systems Center signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with United Launch Alliance (ULA) as part of the company’s effort to certify its new Vulcan launch vehicle for National Security Space (NSS) missions. This cooperative, jointly-written agreement facilitates data exchanges and protects proprietary and export-controlled data. The CRADA will be in effect until all non-recurring design validation activities for Vulcan are complete.



 

This CRADA enables the Air Force to evaluate the Vulcan launch system according to the Air Force’s New Entrant Certification Guide (NECG), and contains a detailed Certification Plan that specifies all of the non-recurring activities.  As part of the evaluation, SMC and ULA will look at flight history, vehicle design, reliability, process maturity, safety systems, manufacturing and operations, systems engineering, risk management and launch facilities.  SMC will monitor at least two certification flights to meet the flight history requirements outlined in the NECG. ULA will give the US Government specific levels of insight into the design and testing of the vehicle during its development; the breadth and depth of this insight allows for the number of certification flights to be two.  Once portions of the non-recurring validation are complete, the SMC commander may make a determination to grant certification.  This approach is consistent with other CRADAs.

 

“The certification process provides a path for launch-service providers to demonstrate the capability to design, produce, qualify, and deliver a new launch system and provide the mission assurance support required to deliver NSS satellites to orbit,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Air Force program executive officer for Space and Space and Missile Systems Center commander.  “This process ensures that we continue to have assured access to space.”

 

While certification does not guarantee a contract award, it does enable a company to be awarded competitive launch services contracts.

 

In addition to the Vulcan CRADA, SMC anticipates entering into additional CRADAs with SpaceX for their Falcon Heavy rocket and with Orbital-ATK for their Next Generation Launcher.

 

Currently, ULA’s Delta IV and Atlas V, and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Upgrade are the only certified launch vehicles for sending NSS payloads into orbit. Having multiple certified launch vehicle providers and multiple families of launch systems bolsters U.S. assured access to space.

 The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

Well then. Forward momentum, pretty much on schedule. Looking to a testing article of BE-4 soon, then? Thought it was due by the end of this year, so .... 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Might be just me, but it seems short for only 2 flights to certify.

 

Falcon 9 had to jump through hoops and demonstrate with a lot more flights...and battle the usual characters.

 

Appears that the requirements are getting a bit more streamlined for more entrants...which is good.

 

New stages, new engines, new processes....and a financial battle for engine selection. :s

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Unobscured Vision    2,650

Yep. And it's interesting how some get certified with no flights at all, or even a working platform yet ...

 

Funny how that works out.

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Draggendrop    5,747

One must be a "disrupter" to get noticed and have flaming hoops thrown at you...progress, we'll have none of that nonsense!

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DocM    16,342

Viewers of the BE-4 test a while back thought it was a full engine but nay, it was the power pack - pumps, preburner, injectors. No chamber, no nozzle.

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Draggendrop    5,747
2 minutes ago, DocM said:

Viewers of the BE-4 test a while back thought it was a full engine but nay, it was the power pack - pumps, previewer, injectors. No chamber, no nozzle.

Wow....The raptor test would have gotten a few edgy at Blue Origin in that case. While everyone thought BO had a reasonable lead...all of a sudden, it's a new show.

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DocM    16,342

ULA will produce enough Delta IV cores to get through the existing Delta IV Medium and Delta IV Heavy manifest, then they close the line for the changeover to Vulcan.

 

http://spacenews.com/ula-and-air-force-agree-on-certification-process-for-vulcan-rocket/

 

Quote

 

ULA, Air Force agree on Vulcan rocket certification process

 

WASHINGTON — United Launch Alliance and the U.S. Air Force signed an agreement Sept. 27 that will guide the military’s certification of the Vulcan rocket ULA is developing as the successor to its Atlas 5 and Delta 4 launchers.

 

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center said in a statement that it intends to sign similar Cooperative Research and Development Agreements soon with SpaceX for certification of the Hawthorne, California, company’s Falcon Heavy and Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK for certification of their proposed Next Generation Launcher.

 

Currently, only ULA’s Atlas 5 and Delta 4 and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are certified by the Air Force for launching U.S. national security payloads. NASA has its own internal process for deciding which rockets are qualified to launch U.S. science satellites.

 

As part of the certification process for so-called new entrants, officials at Los Angeles-based Space and Missile Systems Center will evaluate ULA’s overall flight history, vehicle design, reliability, process maturity, safety systems, manufacturing and operations, systems engineering, risk management and launch facilities and monitor at least two Vulcan flights.

 

“The certification process provides a path for launch-service providers to demonstrate the capability to design, produce, qualify, and deliver a new launch system and provide the mission assurance support required to deliver [national security space] satellites to orbit,” said the Space and Missile Systems Center’s outgoing commander Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, who was nominated by President Obama earlier this month to lead the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.  “This process ensures that we continue to have assured access to space.”

 

ULA, a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture based in Denver, is funding development of the semi-reusable Vulcan rocket with a mix of corporate and Air Force funding. ULA is partnering with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin on development of the liquid-methane-fueled BE-4 engines that would power the Vulcan’s first stage, although ULA CEO Tory Bruno said earlier this month that a formal decision on building Vulcan around BE-4 has been pushed back until next spring.

 

The other main-engine candidate in the running for Vulcan is the AR1 engine under development at Aerojet Rocketdyne. The Air Force agreed in February to invest more than $500 million in the kerosene-fueled engine, which NASA is also eyeing for the Advanced Boosters being considered as an upgrade for NASA’s still-in-development Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket.

 

 

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