Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Air Force awards three Launch Service Agreements

Article intro image Enlarge The Air Force evidently likes what it sees in Blue Origin's New Glenn
Elijah Vega | 12 October, 2018, 22:02

"We're making the most of the authorities Congress gave us and we will no longer be reliant on the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine", said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, in a press release. Building on the capabilities of the company's current rockets, the Atlas V and Delta IV, the new ULA Vulcan will incorporate the best of both systems - with Vulcan deployment beginning with the first stage, based on the Delta IV's fuselage diameter and production process, expected to use two BE-4 engines. "These innovative public-private partnerships with industry provide a path to develop launch vehicles to assure access to space, address the urgent need to transition away from strategic foreign reliance, and provide responsive launch capabilities to the warfighter".

Since 2003, the EELV program has launched 72 national security missions using the Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles.

United Launch Alliance Through 2024, ULA will receive $967 million to develop its upcoming rocket called the Vulcan, also known as the Vulcan Centaur. Blue Origin is developing a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Each company will initially be allocated $181 million.

Astronauts survive fall to Earth
At that point only gravity was in control, and rescue teams in helicopters raced to where they thought the capsule would land. Hague and Ovchinin would have joined the station's current crew, which includes American astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor.

The company said in a tweet that the Air Force contract will help it get certified to launch national security missions. "The funding provided through this agreement will be used to tailor our launch vehicle and associated facilities for national security space needs".

Blue Origin's New Glenn Rocket.

The launch service agreements "will facilitate the development of three domestic launch system prototypes and enable the future competitive selection", the Air Force said in a statement. The New Glenn is a reusable orbital vehicle created to land back on Earth after launch.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, awarded $500 million for the preliminary work, will build its New Glenn Launch System. What would further add to the sting for Elon Musk's company, is the fact that the DOD will be selecting two of these three companies to become official launch providers for the United States government. SpaceX was not listed among the award recipients.

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