Blue Origin’s Booster Engine Chosen for ULA’s Vulcan Centaur
United Launch Alliance‘s (ULA) selected Blue Origin‘s BE-4 engine for Vulcan Centaur’s booster stage. 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. As previously announced, ULA has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne‘s RL10 engine for the Centaur upper stage, Northrop Grumman solid rocket boosters, L‑3 Avionics Systems avionics, and RUAG‘s payload fairings and composite structures for the new Vulcan Centaur rocket system.
The Vulcan Centaur, ULA’s next-generation rocket, is making strong progress in development and is on track for its initial flight in mid-2020. The Vulcan Centaur rocket design leverages that of the Delta IV and Atlas V launch vehicles, while introducing additional technologies and features.
The new rocket design is nearing completion, and the booster preliminary design and critical design reviews have been completed. Vulcan Centaur will have a maximum liftoff thrust of 3.8 million pounds and carry 56,000 pounds to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), 33,000 pounds to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) and 16,000 pounds to Geostationary Orbit (GEO).