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.
United Launch Alliance unveiled an incremental approach to replace its workhorse Atlas 5 rocket, an ambitious path forward that ultimately would include a new second stage and, later, reusable first-stage engines that would be captured midair by helicopter after each mission.