What would have been the first national security mission for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket will be flown by Atlas 5, the company confirmed May 19.
ULA is still betting on long-endurance upper stages and believes the technology has a bright future.
Millennium Engineering and Integration on Feb. 19 received a $13.2 million contract for services in support of the Vulcan rocket certification.
Northrop Grumman announced Jan. 21 it completed a static firing of the strap-on solid booster it developed for United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket.
Tory Bruno said he is confident that Vulcan and first customer — Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander — will be on the launch pad “by the end of next year.”
ULA said the delay in Dream Chaser’s first mission will not prevent Vulcan from getting certified on time for its first national security mission in 2022.
The 1,250-kilogram NTS-3 satellite is being built by L3Harris under an $84 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory.
For ULA’s president and CEO Tory Bruno, job No. 1 is to get Vulcan ready for its maiden launch, which he says will happen in early 2021. This will be a critical first step toward the certification of Vulcan for national security missions.
Vulcan scores two new customers as ULA begins factory upgrades in preparation for the transition to Vulcan production.
Sierra Nevada Corp. announced Aug. 14 that it will use United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan launch vehicle for sending Dream Chaser cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station starting in late 2021.
United Launch Alliance will begin flying Vulcan hardware on Atlas 5 rockets this year in an effort to give the next-generation launcher bona fide flight heritage before its debut in 2021.
Launch companies that once offered many variants of an individual vehicle to match the specific needs of payloads are now moving to a smaller number of standardized designs, trading off optimization for cost savings.