Research and development (R&D) costs for the AR1 rocket from the program’s inception through June 30 have reached about $228 million, according to recent Security Exchange Commission (SEC) filings by Aerojet Rocketdyne, the engine's manufacturer.
An independent assessment of rocket engine development delivered to a House committee last week has concluded that Blue Origin remains well ahead of Aerojet Rocketdyne despite a recent testing setback.
Air Force leaders didn't definitively say if they'll cut off funding, but said they're more interested in launch services than engines.
The company completed a series of hot-fire tests on the preburner design for the AR1, keeping the program on schedule to be flight-ready by 2019.
A bipartisan group of 20 House members has asked the Defense Department not to alter the U.S. Air Force’s plans to fund development of new launch systems.
Lockheed says the technology has cut down on production time by two-thirds, while Aerojet is already testing a 3-D printed thrust chamber.
Aerojet Rocketdyne announced a second phase of the company’s consolidation plan April 10 that includes moving development of rocket engines from a decades-old California facility.
“Everybody agrees on the long term,” said William LaPlante, former Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition. But getting to those goals is the hard part.
The company said growth in sales for 2016 was linked to increased activity in space launch and missile programs.
The test of the engine, lasting 380 seconds, is part of a broader effort to qualify the engines for use on the core stage of the SLS and to test design tweaks
Aerojet Rockedtyne said Feb. 22 that it has agreed to buy Coleman Aerospace from L3 Technologies for $15 million in cash.
During his campaign, President Trump called for more airplanes, more ships and more soldiers, but said little about bolstering the space capabilities these forces rely upon.
The Air Force vet joined the company in December 2015 as vice president of quality and mission assurance.
The company said it selected Huntsville because of the presence of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
Aerojet Rocketdyne announced June 27 that it expects to save $8 million annually by consolidating its six business units into two: Space and Defense.