Saturday, 17 November, 2018


Jeff Bezos' space company set to launch

Jeff Bezos' space company set to launch Jeff Bezos' space company set to launch
Conrad Doyle | 29 September, 2018, 16:13

Colorado-based ULA said it is making strong progress in the development of the Vulcan Centaur, which is on track for its initial test flight in mid-2020. Blue Origin's BE-4 engines will power a new range of rockets, called Vulcan Centaur. However, Aerojet still has a lot of business when it comes to building smaller engines, including the one that will power the Vulcan's upper stage.

Still, the choice of Blue Origin for Vulcan's engines was expected.

ULA has always been the primary-and for several years the sole-contractor for USA military satellite launches, and the venerable Atlas V rocket the company built has put dozens of spy satellites into orbit.

While top military officials have no reason to believe that Russian-made rocket engines are any kind of security risk, it's not ideal for taxpayer money to go to foreign contractors and the agreement gives Russia a certain degree of power over USA launches.

United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of aerospace stalwarts Boeing Co (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), picked Blue Origin's BE-4 engine to power Vulcan's core booster over the AR1 engine put up by Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc (AJRD.N).

"ULA has chosen the best systems available to create the Vulcan Centaur", said Bruno.

Bezos is channeling $1 billion of his own income's part annually into Blue Origin as it heads to fly its own heavy-lift launch vehicle, named New Glenn, in 2020. Alabama is home not only to ULA's production facility in Decatur, but to Sen.

The contract, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is a significant victory for Blue Origin, the space company Bezos founded in 2000.

The move is interesting because, like United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin also wants to launch stuff for the military.

Jessica Rye, a ULA, spokeswoman, said that "due to this being a competitive procurement, we can't comment at this time". ULA and Blue Origin announced a partnership four years ago, but the competition with Aerojet Rocketdyne has taken this long to reach its conclusion.

ULA said the Vulcan Centaur will boost US manufacturing by adding more than 22,000 direct and indirect American jobs in 46 states supported by ULA programs. "We have been working closely with the U.S. Air Force, and our certification plan is in place".

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