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ULA to Develop Next-Generation Propulsion Concepts with Multiple US Companies

By | June 18, 2014

      RD-180 test firing at the Marshall Space Flight Center Advanced Engine Test Facility. Photo: Wikipedia

      [Via Satellite 06-18-2014] United Launch Alliance (ULA) signed commercial contracts with multiple U.S. companies to investigate the development of next-generation liquid oxygen/hydrocarbon first-stage propulsion concepts. In collaboration with ULA, the Research and Development (R&D) activities will consist of technical feasibility analyses, high fidelity plan development, schedule, cost and technical risk identifications and cost estimations, supporting a first launch by 2019. ULA is looking to select a future concept and engine supplier by the fourth quarter of 2014 for this launch schedule.

      ULA will continue working with RD Amross (RDA), a U.S. joint venture between United Technologies (UTC) and Russian NPO Energomash, to evaluate the future of the RD-180 — including potentially manufacturing it in the U.S.

      “While the RD-180 has been a remarkable success, we believe now is the right time for American investment in a domestic engine,” said Michael Gass, president and CEO of ULA. “At the same time, given that ULA is the only certified launch provider of our nation’s most important satellites, it is critical that America preserve current capabilities and options while simultaneously pursuing this new engine.”