ULA Selects Blue Origin’s BE-4 Rocket Motor for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

vulcan, be-4, ar1, eelv

Artist’s Rendition of Vulcan Lifting Off

ULA has selected Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine for the Vulcan Centaur’s booster stage. The selection follows the completion of a competitive procurement contest. The liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled booster will be powered by a pair of BE-4 engines, each producing 550,000 pounds of sea level thrust. ULA held a multiyear competition that pitted startup Blue Origin against industry incumbent Aerojet Rocketdyne, which proposed its AR1 engine. Once operational, the Vulcan, powered by the BE-4, will end reliance on the Russian-built RD-180 that powers the Atlas V currently used by ULA. Continue reading

ULA Introduces Future Vulcan Launch Vehicle

by Bill Ostrove, Forecast International.

United Launch Alliance's New Vulcan

United Launch Alliance’s New Vulcan (Source: ULA)

U.S. company United Launch Alliance (ULA) has unveiled its next-generation launch vehicle, dubbed Vulcan. In a much anticipated April 13 press conference, CEO Tory Bruno provided details about the new launch vehicle (formerly known as the Next Generation Launch System, or NGLS), including that it will feature a reusable main engine and a redesigned second stage that will extend on-orbit operating times from hours to weeks.

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