Air Force leaders didn't definitively say if they'll cut off funding, but said they're more interested in launch services than engines.
Lockheed Martin has ended its effort to return a small-to-medium-lift launch vehicle to market, and plans to keep the Atlas 5 rocket in flight concurrently with United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket for the first five years of operations.
In a letter, the representatives said the service should not provide funding for ULA's development of Vulcan unless it has "full access, oversight of, and approval rights over decision-making."
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.
United Launch Alliance says reuse of its future Vulcan rocket’s first-stage engines — featuring an inflatable hypersonic decelerator to protect the engines on atmospheric reentry, then a parafoil to glide them into position for a mid-air pickup by helicopter — is far more cost-effective than SpaceX’s planned recovery and reuse of the Falcon rocket’s entire first stage.
Two senior Boeing executives, speaking at conferences on separate continents Sept. 16, said the company is not seriously considering Aerojet Rocketdyne’s $2 billion offer for United Launch Alliance.
Development of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s new engine could be delayed without sufficient government funding, company executives said here Sept. 15.
Vulcan Aerospace expects to make a decision this fall on the rocket, or rockets, it plans to use with its Stratolaunch air-launch system as it reorients itself toward a promising-looking launch market for small satellites.
Swiss rocket-component builder Ruag is opening a production line at customer United Launch Alliance’s Alabama facility to replace capacity in Switzerland used to build parts for ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket and to prepare for ULA’s new Vulcan vehicle.
Tory Bruno, the president and chief executive of United Launch Alliance, took to Twitter to discuss the heritage of his company's new Vulcan rocket and unveil a new infographic.
The willingness of United Launch Alliance’s parent companies to fund a next-generation rocket hinges on winning relief from the ban on the Russian-made engine that powers its current government workhorse, the Atlas 5.
By the time Boeing and Lockheed Martin tapped Tory Bruno to take over United Launch Alliance last July, the handwriting was on the wall: ULA was going to need a new rocket if it hoped to remain in business for the long haul.
In 2014, Paul Allen formed Vulcan Aerospace to realize his vision of easing access and convenience to space, and made Stratolaunch Systems a subsidiary. Vulcan Aerospace plans to cut the cost of sending rockets to low Earth orbit.