Vulcan Centaur

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Vulcan (rocket))

Vulcan Centaur
Vulcan logo.svg
FunctionLaunch vehicle, partial reuse planned
ManufacturerUnited Launch Alliance
Country of originUnited States
Cost per launchApprox. US$82–200 million[1][2]
Height61.6 m (202 ft)[3]
Diameter5.4 m (18 ft)[4]
Mass546,700 kg (1,205,300 lb)
Stages2 and 0, 2, 4 or 6 boosters
Payload to low Earth orbit (28.7°)
Mass27,200 kg (60,000 lb)[5]
Payload to geostationary transfer orbit (27.0°)
Mass15,300 kg (33,700 lb),[5]
Payload to geostationary orbit
Mass7,000 kg (15,000 lb)[5]
Payload to trans-lunar injection
Mass12,100 kg (26,700 lb)[5]
Launch history
StatusIn construction
Launch sites
First flightQ1 2023 (planned)[7]
No. boosters0, 2, 4, or 6[8]
Powered byGEM-63XL[9]
Maximum thrust2,201.7 kN (495,000 lbf)
PropellantHTPB, Al / AP
First stage
Diameter5.4 m (18 ft)
Powered by2 × BE-4
Maximum thrust4,900 kN (1,100,000 lbf)
PropellantCH4 / LOX
Second stage – Centaur V
Diameter5.4 m (18 ft)
Powered by2 × RL-10[10]
Maximum thrust212 kN (48,000 lbf)[11]
Specific impulse453.8 s (4.450 km/s)[12]
PropellantLH2 / LOX

Vulcan Centaur is a two-stage-to-orbit, heavy-lift launch vehicle that is under development by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) since 2014 with an initial flight expected in early 2023.[7] It is principally designed to meet launch demands for the U.S. government's National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program for use by the United States Space Force and U.S. intelligence agencies for national security satellite launches. It will replace both of ULA's existing launchers (Atlas V and Delta IV Heavy) in this role, as these launchers are retiring. Vulcan Centaur will also be used for commercial launches, including an order for 38 launches from Kuiper Systems.

The maiden flight is slated to launch Astrobotic Technology's Peregrine lunar lander for NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program[13][14] and Kuiper Systems' Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2,[15][16] no earlier than 2023, after multiple delays from the initially planned first flight in 2019.


Vulcan is ULA's first new launch vehicle design; it adapts and evolves technologies that were developed for the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets of the USAF's EELV program. The first-stage propellant tanks have the same diameter as the Delta IV Common Booster Core but will contain liquid methane and liquid oxygen propellants rather than the Delta IV's liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.[17]

Vulcan's upper stage is the Centaur V, an upgraded variant of the Centaur III, the world’s first high energy upper stage. The Centaur III variant is currently used on the Atlas V. Previous plans called for the Centaur V to be eventually upgraded with Integrated Vehicle Fluids technology to become the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES), but this was subsequently cancelled.[18] ULA planned to pursue human-rating certification for Vulcan to allow the launch of crewed craft, such as the Boeing CST-100 Starliner or a future version of the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser spaceplane.[3][18][19]

The Vulcan booster has a 5.4 m (18 ft) outer diameter to support the Blue Origin BE-4 engines' liquid methane fuel.[20] In September 2018, after a competition with the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR1, the BE-4 was selected to power Vulcan's first stage.[21]

Up to six GEM-63XL solid rocket boosters (SRB)s can be attached to the first stage in pairs, providing additional thrust during the first part of the flight and allowing the six-SRB Vulcan Centaur to launch a higher mass payload than the most capable Atlas V 551.[8][22][23][24]


The Vulcan Centaur will have a four-character designation for each configuration, in which the first character represents the first stage of the vehicle; Vulcan is designated with the letter "V". The second character shows the upper stage; Centaur is designated "C". The third character represents the number of SRBs attached to the Vulcan; "0", "2", "4" or "6". The final character represents the payload-fairing length configuration, which is indicated by "S" (Standard; 15.5 m (51 ft)) or "L" (Long; 21.3 m (70 ft)).[25] For example, "VC6L" would represent a Vulcan first stage, a Centaur upper stage, six SRBs and a long-configuration fairing.[25] The most powerful Vulcan Centaur will have a Vulcan first stage, a Centaur upper stage with RL10CX engines with a nozzle extension and six SRBs.[26]


As of November 2019, the Vulcan Centaur payload figures are as follows:[5]

Version SRBs Payload mass to...
Vulcan Centaur VC0 0 3,500 kg (7,700 lb) 10,800 kg (23,800 lb) 9,200 kg (20,300 lb) 8,500 kg (18,700 lb) 2,300 kg (5,100 lb)
Vulcan Centaur VC2 2 2,600 kg (5,700 lb) 8,400 kg (18,500 lb) 19,000 kg (42,000 lb) 16,300 kg (35,900 lb) 15,200 kg (33,500 lb) 3,900 kg (8,600 lb) 6,300 kg (13,900 lb)
Vulcan Centaur VC4 4 4,900 kg (10,800 lb) 11,700 kg (25,800 lb) 24,600 kg (54,200 lb) 21,600 kg (47,600 lb) 20,000 kg (44,000 lb) 6,200 kg (13,700 lb) 9,200 kg (20,300 lb)
Vulcan Centaur VC6 6 6,500 kg (14,300 lb) 14,500 kg (32,000 lb) 27,200 kg (60,000 lb) 25,800 kg (56,900 lb) 23,900 kg (52,700 lb) 8,100 kg (17,900 lb) 11,500 kg (25,400 lb)
Vulcan Upgrade 6 7,000 kg (15,000 lb) 15,300 kg (33,700 lb) 27,200 kg (60,000 lb) 26,900 kg (59,300 lb) 24,900 kg (54,900 lb) 8,600 kg (19,000 lb) 12,100 kg (26,700 lb)
NSSL requirement[27] 6,600 kg (14,600 lb) 8,165 kg (18,001 lb) 6,800 kg (15,000 lb) 17,000 kg (37,000 lb)

Payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO) is for a 200 km (120 mi) circular orbit at a 28.7° inclination; payload to the International Space Station is for a 407 km (253 mi) circular orbit at 51.6° inclination; payload to polar LEO is for a 200 km (120 mi) circular orbit at 90° inclination. These capabilities are driven by the need to meet NSSL requirements, with room for future growth.[5][27]

A single-core Vulcan Centaur with six solid-rocket boosters can put 27,200 kilograms into low-Earth orbit. This is almost as much as the three-core Delta IV Heavy.[28]



ULA had considered a number of launch vehicle concepts in the decade since the company was formed in 2006. Various concepts for derivative vehicles based on the Atlas and Delta lines of launch vehicles they inherited from their predecessor companies were presented to the US government for funding. None were funded beyond the concept stage.

In early 2014, geopolitical and US political considerations led to an effort by ULA to consider the possible replacement of the Russian-supplied RD-180 engine used on the first stage booster of the Atlas V. Events such as the Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in February 2014 brought into focus that relying on foreign hardware to launch critical national security spacecraft could be undesirable. Formal study contracts were issued by ULA in June 2014 to a number of US rocket engine suppliers.[29] ULA was also facing competition from SpaceX—then seen to affect its core national security market of US military launches—and by July 2014, the US Congress was debating whether to legislatively ban future use of the RD-180 engine.[30][31]

In September 2014, ULA announced that it had entered into a partnership with Blue Origin to develop the BE-4 liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid methane (CH4) engine to replace the RD-180 on a new first stage booster. The engine was already in its third year of development by Blue Origin, and ULA said it expected the new stage and engine to start flying no earlier than 2019.[32] Two of the 2,400-kilonewton (550,000 lbf)-thrust BE-4 engines were to be used on a new launch vehicle booster.[29][33][32]

In October 2014, ULA announced a major restructuring of company processes and workforce in order to halve launch costs. One of the reasons given for the restructuring and new cost reduction goals was new competition in the launch market from SpaceX.[34][30] ULA stated it planned to have preliminary design ideas in place for a blending of its existing Atlas V and Delta IV technologies by the end of 2014, in order to build a successor to the Atlas V that would allow them to cut Atlas V launch costs in half.[34]


At the time of the 2015 announcement, ULA proposed an incremental approach to rolling out the new launch vehicle and its technologies.[17] Vulcan deployment was expected to begin with a new first stage that was based on the Delta IV's fuselage diameter and production process, and initially expected to use two BE-4 engines or the AR1 as an alternative. The initial second stage was planned to be the Atlas V's Common Centaur and Centaur III with its existing RL10 engine. A later upgrade, the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES), was conceptually planned for full development in the late 2010s and to be introduced a few years after Vulcan's first flight. ULA also announced a design concept for reuse of the Vulcan booster engines, thrust structure and first stage avionics, which could be detached as a module from the propellant tanks after booster engine cutoff; the module would re-enter the atmosphere behind an inflatable heat shield.[35] Neither the ACES second stage nor the SMART reuse for the first stage became funded development projects by ULA as of 2019, even though ULA stated the "first stage propulsion module accounts for around 65% of Vulcan Centaur's costs."[36]


Through the first several years, the ULA board of directors made quarterly funding commitments to Vulcan Centaur development.[37] As of October 2018, the U.S. government had committed approximately US$1.2 billion in a public–private partnership to Vulcan Centaur development and future funding was dependent on ULA securing an NSSL contract.[38]

By March 2016, the United States Air Force (USAF) had committed up to US$202 million of funding for Vulcan development. ULA had not yet estimated the total cost of development but CEO Tory Bruno noted "new rockets typically cost US$2 billion, including US$1 billion for the main engine".[37] In April 2016, ULA Board of Directors member and President of Boeing's Network and Space Systems (N&SS) division Craig Cooning expressed confidence in the possibility of further USAF funding of Vulcan development.[39]

In March 2018, Tory Bruno said the Vulcan-Centaur had been "75% privately funded" up to that point.[quantify][40] In October 2018, following a request for proposals and technical evaluation, ULA was awarded US$967 million to develop a prototype Vulcan launch system as part of the National Security Space Launch program. Other providers Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems were awarded US$500 million and US$792 million in development funding,[38] with detailed proposals and a competitive selection process to follow in 2019. The USAF's goal with the next generation of Launch Service Agreements was to desist from "buying rockets" and move to acquire services from launch service providers but U.S. government funding of launch vehicle development continued.[38]

A concept depiction of the Centaur lifting off.

Into production[edit]

In September 2015, it was announced BE-4 rocket engine production would be expanded to increase production capacity for testing.[41] The following January, ULA was designing two versions of the Vulcan first stage; the BE-4 version has a 5.4 m (18 ft) diameter to support the use of less-dense methane fuel.[20] In late 2017, the upper stage was changed to the larger and heavier Centaur V, and the launch vehicle was renamed Vulcan Centaur.[40] The single-core Vulcan Centaur will be capable of lifting "30% more" than a Delta IV Heavy,[42] meeting the NSSL requirements.[27]

In May 2018, ULA announced the selection of Aerojet Rocketdyne's RL10 engine for the Vulcan Centaur upper stage.[43] That September 2018, ULA announced the selection of the Blue Origin BE-4 engine for Vulcan's booster.[44][45] That October 2018, the USAF released an NSSL launch service agreement with new requirements, delaying Vulcan's initial launch to April 2021, after an earlier postponement to 2020.[46][47][48]

On 8 July 2019, CEO Tory Bruno released images of two Vulcan qualification test articles — the liquefied natural gas tank and thrust structure — on Twitter. The following day, Peter Guggenbach, the CEO of RUAG Space, released an image of a Vulcan payload attachment fitting. On 31 July the same year, two images of the mated LNG tank and thrust structure were similarly released.[49][50][51][52][53] On 2 August 2019, Blue Origin released on Twitter an image of a BE-4 engine at full power on a test stand.[54] On 6 August 2019, the first two parts of Vulcan's mobile launcher platform (MLP) were transported[55] to the Spaceflight Processing Operations Center (SPOC) near SLC-40 and SLC-41, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The MLP was fabricated in eight sections and will move at 3 mph (4.8 km/h) on existing rail dollies and stand 183 ft (56 m) tall.[56] On 12 August 2019, ULA submitted Vulcan Centaur for phase 2 of the USAF's launch services competition. [57]As of February 2020, the tankage for the second operational rocket was under construction in the ULA factory in Decatur, Alabama.[58]

In October 2019, the first launch of Vulcan was planned for July 2021, carrying Astrobotic Technology's Peregrine lunar lander. In June 2020, ULA said it could be earlier and announced a target launch date of early 2021.[59][33] On 7 August 2020, the United States Space Force awarded ULA 60% of all National Security Space Launch payloads from 2022 to 2027.[60] That December 2020, ULA said BE-4 engine delivery was expected in mid-2021, and that the Vulcan's first launch would not happen before the end of 2021.[61] In June 2021, Astrobotic reported that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they needed more time to prepare Peregrine, delaying the first flight of Vulcan to 2022[13] and later to 2023.[7] The Government Accountability Office (GAO) also stated that the first-stage engine was experiencing technical difficulties, and may not be qualified in time to support a Vulcan launch in 2021.[62]

Testing before first flight[edit]

In February 2021, ULA shipped the first completed Vulcan core booster to Florida for pathfinder tests ahead of the Vulcan's debut launch.[63] The Pathfinder Tanking Test core booster was transferred to SLC-41 for first stage cryogenic tanking tests in April 2021.[64]

It was loaded with just LOX in August 2021, and with just CH4 in September 2021, and was rolled out to SLC-41 on Oct 4 for a combined LOX & CH4 tanking and pressurisation test on Oct 5.[65]

First flight hardware[edit]

Certification flights[edit]

On 14 August 2019, ULA won a commercial competition when it was announced the second Vulcan certification flight would be SNC Demo-1, the first of six Dream Chaser CRS-2 flights awarded to ULA. Launches are planned to begin in 2023.[66] They will use the four-SRB Vulcan configuration. On 19 August 2019, it was announced Astrobotic Technology selected ULA to launch their Peregrine lander on the first Vulcan certification flight, named Certification-1.[67] Peregrine is scheduled to be launched in early 2023[7] from SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) on a mission to the lunar surface.[68][69]

The Space Force's USSF-51 launch in late 2022 had been intended to be the first national security classified mission, but in May 2021 the spacecraft was reassigned to an Atlas V to "mitigate schedule risk associated with Vulcan Centaur non-recurring design validation".[70]

NASA Launch Services Program[edit]

In early 2021, NASA added the Vulcan Centaur to the Launch Services II contract (NLS II). This makes the Vulcan Centaur part of the Launch Services Program and subjects it to the "on-ramp" provisions in NLS II. The on-ramp provisions allow existing launch providers to introduce new vehicles that NASA has not yet provided for.[71]

Potential upgrades[edit]

Since the formal announcement in 2015, ULA has spoken of several technologies that would extend the Vulcan launch vehicle's capabilities. These include enhancements to the first stage to make the most expensive components potentially reusable and enhancements to the second stage to increase its long-term mission duration to operate for months in Earth orbit cislunar space.[36]

Long-endurance upper stages[edit]

The ACES upper stage—fueled with liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) and powered by up to four rocket engines with the engine type yet to be selected—was a conceptual upgrade to Vulcan's upper stage at the time of the announcement in 2015. This stage could subsequently be upgraded to include the Integrated Vehicle Fluids technology that would allow the upper stage a much longer in-orbit life of weeks rather than hours. The ACES upper stage was eventually cancelled[17][72] when in September 2020, ULA made public that the ACES development would not be continued and the Vulcan second stage would now be the Centaur V upper stage.[18][36] The Centaur V is based on the upper stage used by the Atlas V but larger and more powerful. A senior executive at ULA said the Centaur V design was also heavily influenced by ACES.[73][28]

However, ULA said in 2021 that it is working to add more value to upper stages by having them perform tasks such as operating as space tugs. CEO Tory Bruno says ULA is working on upper stages with hundreds of times the endurance of those currently in use.[73]

SMART reuse[edit]

The Sensible Modular Autonomous Return Technology (SMART) reuse concept was also announced during the initial April 2015 unveiling of Vulcan. The booster engines, avionics, and thrust structure would be detached as a module from the propellant tanks after booster engine cutoff. The module would descend through the atmosphere behind an inflatable heat shield. After parachute deployment, a helicopter would capture the module in mid-air. ULA estimated this technology would reduce the cost of the first stage propulsion by 90%, and 65% of the total first-stage cost.[35] By 2020, ULA had not announced firm plans to fund, build and test this engine-reuse concept, though in late 2019 they stated they were "still planning to eventually reuse Vulcan's first-stage engines".[36]

In April 2021 CEO Tory Bruno said that the additional launches purchased by Amazon for the Kuiper satellite constellation would require a higher launch cadence and that this provided support for the business case to go forward with the SMART concept.[74]

In July 2022, ULA pivoted and changed the high-level design objective of the engine reuse recovery concept. Rather than recover the descending booster engines with a helicopter, ULA is now planning to attempt recovery of the engines following atmospheric reentry, descent, and splashdown floating in the ocean on the inflatable aeroshell.[75]

Three-core variant[edit]

As of late 2020, ULA said it is studying a possible three-core variant of the Vulcan Centaur. This rocket was tentatively dubbed the Vulcan Heavy.[28] ULA earlier used the name "Vulcan Centaur Heavy" for a VC6 version with a more powerful Centaur to be introduced later, but has now renamed that version to "Vulcan Centaur Upgrade".

Planned launches[edit]

Date and time,
Configuration Launch site Payloads Planned
Q1 2023[7] VC2S SLC-41 Peregrine lander and Project Kuiper (2 prototype satellites) Selenocentric Astrobotic Technology
Certification-1[76] had its initial launch delayed from late 2021.[77] The two prototype Project Kuiper satellites are Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2.
Summer 2023[78] VC4L SLC-41 SNC Demo-1 LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
First flight of Dream Chaser.
2023 and on[79][80] VC4L SLC-41 Dream Chaser LEO (ISS) NASA (CRS)
5 more launches on contract.[80]
Q2 2023[81] VC4[82] SLC-41 USSF-112[83] "High-energy orbit" U.S. Space Force
Q3 2023[84] TBA SLC-41 USSF-106 / NTS-3[85] GEO U.S. Space Force
Q3 2023[81] VC4[82] SLC-41 USSF-87[83] "High-energy orbit" U.S. Space Force

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clark, Stephen. "ULA needs commercial customers to close Vulcan rocket business case". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  2. ^ Shalal, Klotz, Andrea, Irene. "'Vulcan' rocket launch in 2019 may end U.S. dependence on Russia". Reuters. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Vulcan Centaur Cutaway Poster" (PDF). United Launch Alliance. November 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  4. ^ Peller, Mark. "United Launch Alliance" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Vulcan". United Launch Alliance. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  6. ^ Clark, Stephen (12 October 2015). "ULA selects launch pads for new Vulcan rocket". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e Roulette, Joey (10 October 2022). "United Launch Alliance's debut Vulcan mission slips to 2023 -CEO". Reuters. Retrieved 11 October 2022.
  8. ^ a b @ToryBruno (1 July 2019). "Vulcan is configurable with 0 to 6 SRBs. 2 fairing lengths, the longer, 70 ft fairing having a massive 11,000 cuft (317 cu-m) payload volume" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Rhian, Jason. "ULA selects Orbital ATK's GEM 63/63XL SRBs for Atlas V and Vulcan Boosters". Spaceflight Insider. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  10. ^ "United Launch Alliance Selects Aerojet Rocketdyne's RL10 Engine". ULA. 11 May 2018. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 Propulsion System" (PDF). Aerojet Rocketdyne. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10 Propulsion System" (PDF). Aerojet Rocketdyne. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  13. ^ a b Irene Klotz [@Free_Space] (18 June 2021). "Debut launch of @ulalaunch Vulcan slipping to 2022 as customer @astrobotic needs more time to prep Peregrine lunar lander. "Covid presented a lot of problems for the entire space supply chain," CEO John Thornton tells @aviationweek "We're just doing the best we can."" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Kanayama, Lee (9 May 2022). "As Centaur turns 60 years old, ULA prepares to evolve Centaur V". Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  15. ^ "Amazon Staff". about amazon. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  16. ^ "ULA Sets Path Forward for Inaugural Vulcan Flight Test". ULA Launch. ULA. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  17. ^ a b c Gruss, Mike (13 April 2015). "ULA's Vulcan Rocket To be Rolled out in Stages". SpaceNews. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  18. ^ a b c Foust, Jeff (11 September 2020). "ULA studying long-term upgrades to Vulcan". Retrieved 4 March 2021. "ACES work has its fingerprints in our new version of Centaur, the Centaur 5 we're fielding with Vulcan. Those studies five, eight years ago certainly served us well, and it put us on a good path forward here for the evolution of our upper stages. We will continue to evolve our upper stage to meet the needs of the market going forward".
  19. ^ @torybruno (30 August 2016). "ULA_ACES We intend to human rate Vulcan/ACES" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 August 2016 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ a b de Selding, Peter B. (16 March 2016). "ULA intends to lower its costs, and raise its cool, to compete with SpaceX". SpaceNews. Retrieved 19 March 2016. Methane rocket has a lower density so we have a 5.4 meter design outside diameter, while drop back to the Atlas V size for the kerosene AR1 version.
  21. ^ "United Launch Alliance Building Rocket of the Future with Industry-Leading Strategic Partnerships". 28 September 2018. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  22. ^ Jason Rhian (23 September 2015). "ULA selects Orbital ATK's GEM 63/63 XL SRBs for Atlas V and Vulcan boosters". Spaceflight Insider. Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  23. ^ @ToryBruno (1 July 2019). "No. Vulcan SRBs come in pairs" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  24. ^ "United Launch Alliance Unveils America's New Rocket – Vulcan: Innovative Next Generation Launch System will Provide Country's Most Reliable, Affordable and Accessible Launch Service". United Launch Alliance. 13 April 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Vulcan Centaur". Archived from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Vulcan Centaur Cutaway Poster" (PDF). ULA.
  27. ^ a b c Space and Missile Systems (5 October 2018). "EELV LSA RFP OTA". Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2019. table 10 of page 27
  28. ^ a b c Foust, Jeff (11 September 2020). "ULA studying long-term upgrades to Vulcan". Space News. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  29. ^ a b Ferster, Warren (17 September 2014). "ULA To Invest in Blue Origin Engine as RD-180 Replacement". SpaceNews. Archived from the original on 18 September 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  30. ^ a b Gruss, Mike (24 April 2015). "Evolution of a Plan : ULA Execs Spell Out Logic Behind Vulcan Design Choices". Space News. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  31. ^ Clark, Stephen (22 April 2015). "ULA needs commercial business to close Vulcan rocket business case". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 26 October 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  32. ^ a b Fleischauer, Eric (7 February 2015). "ULA's CEO talks challenges, engine plant plans for Decatur". Decatur Daily. Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  33. ^ a b Neal, Mihir (8 June 2020). "Vulcan on track as ULA eyes early - 2021 test flight to the Moon". Archived from the original on 9 June 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  34. ^ a b Avery, Greg (16 October 2014). "ULA plans new rocket, restructuring to cut launch costs in half". Denver Business Journal. Archived from the original on 15 March 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  35. ^ a b Ray, Justin (14 April 2015). "ULA chief explains reusability and innovation of new rocket". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  36. ^ a b c d Henry, Caleb (20 November 2019). "ULA gets vague on Vulcan upgrade timeline". SpaceNews. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  37. ^ a b Gruss, Mike (10 March 2016). "ULA's parent companies still support Vulcan ... with caution". SpaceNews. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  38. ^ a b c Erwin, Sandra (10 October 2018). "Air Force awards launch vehicle development contracts to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman, ULA". SpaceNews. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  39. ^ Host, Pat (12 April 2016). "Cooning Confident Air Force Will Invest In Vulcan Development". Defense Daily. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  40. ^ a b Erwin, Sandra (25 March 2018). "Air Force stakes future on privately funded launch vehicles. Will the gamble pay off?". SpaceNews. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  41. ^ "Boeing, Lockheed Differ on Whether to Sell Rocket Joint Venture". THE Wall Street Journal. 10 September 2015. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  42. ^ Tory Bruno (President & CEO of ULA). "Vulcan Heavy?". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  43. ^ Tribou, Richard (11 May 2018). "ULA chooses Aerojet Rocketdyne over Blue Origin for Vulcan's upper stage engine". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 13 May 2018. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  44. ^ "United Launch Alliance Building Rocket of the Future with Industry-Leading Strategic Partnerships – ULA Selects Blue Origin Advanced Booster Engine for Vulcan Centaur Rocket System" (Press release). United Launch Alliance. 27 September 2018. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  45. ^ Johnson, Eric M.; Roulette, Joey (27 September 2018). "Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to supply engines for Vulcan rocket". Reuters. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  46. ^ Foust, Jeff (25 October 2018). "ULA now planning first launch of Vulcan in 2021". SpaceNews. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  47. ^ @jeff_foust (18 January 2018). "Tom Tshudy, ULA: with Vulcan we plan to maintain reliability and on-time performance of our existing rockets, but at a very affordable price. First launch mid-2020" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  48. ^ Foust, Jeff (25 October 2018). "ULA now planning first launch of Vulcan in 2021". Space News. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  49. ^ @ToryBruno (8 July 2019). "I spy a Vulcan booster LNG qualification tank just finished and heading off to structural testing..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  50. ^ @ToryBruno (8 July 2019). "How do you get over a million pounds of thrust from a pair of BE4 rocket engines efficiently into the rest of the rocket? With a ultra high performance thrust structure. Here's Vulcan's on its way to structural testing" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  51. ^ @PeterGuggenbach (9 July 2019). "Flying saucer at Area 51? Nope! Our first out-of-autoclave Payload Attach Fitting (PAF), produced on a 360-degree mold, is headed to the oven in our @RUAGSpace Decatur, Alabama facility. This PAF will be used on the @ULALaunch #VulcanCentaur" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  52. ^ @ToryBruno (31 July 2019). "Look at that beautiful bird! This first Vulcan booster is heading off to structural qual testing to verify Vulcan's advanced design and manufacturing tech. Super proud of our Decatur team. #MadeInAlabama. #ULArocketStars ⁦@ulalaunch⁩" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  53. ^ @ToryBruno (31 July 2019). "Here's another shot of the Vulcan Structural Test qual booster to give you a size comparison. Mighty Atlas on the left. Great Vulcan on the right. A new class of space launch vehicle; the single-core heavy #TheBeast" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  54. ^ @blueorigin (2 August 2019). "BE-4 continues to rack up time on the test stand. Here's a great shot of our full power engine test today #GradatimFerociter" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  55. ^ @ToryBruno (6 August 2019). "Mighty Atlas is not the only thing rolling at the Cape today. Check the new Vulcan MLP arrival" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  56. ^ @ULAlaunch (6 August 2019). "The MLP will transport #VulcanCentaur Vertical Integration Facility to SLC-41 using heritage undercarriage dollies used for Titan III, Titan IV and #AtlasV and will move at 3 mph. #VulcanCentaur" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  57. ^ "Vulcan Centaur Rocket on Schedule for First Flight in 2021: ULA Submits Proposal for U.S. Air Force's Launch Services Competition". ULA. 12 August 2019. Archived from the original on 12 August 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  58. ^ Sandlin, Destin (29 February 2020). "How Rockets Are Made (Rocket Factory Tour - United Launch Alliance) - Episode 231". YouTube. Archived from the original on 7 March 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  59. ^ Wall, Mike. "SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Will Launch Private Moon Lander in 2021" Archived October 4, 2019, at the Wayback Machine 2 October 2019 Quote: "But Peregrine will fly on a different rocket, United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur, which is still in development. The 2021 Peregrine mission will be the first for both the lander and its launch vehicle"
  60. ^ "Contracts for August 7, 2020". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Retrieved 9 August 2020. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  61. ^ Bezos' Blue Origin to deliver first flight-ready rocket engines next summer, Reuters, December 17, 2020, accessed 20 December 2020.
  62. ^ Weapon Systems Annual Assessment (PDF) (Report). US Government Accountability Office (GAO). 8 June 2021. p. 106. GAO-21-222. Retrieved 23 June 2021. ...a U.S. produced rocket engine under development for ULA's Vulcan launch vehicle is experiencing technical challenges related to the igniter and booster capabilities required and may not be qualified in time to support first launches beginning in 2021.
  63. ^ "Three rockets depart factory aboard RocketShip". United Launch Alliance. 4 February 2021.
  64. ^ Vulcan: Pathfinder fueling tests planned Aug 2021
  65. ^ Vulcan: First demonstration of launch day completed Oct 2021
  66. ^ Foust, Jeff [@jeff_foust] (16 February 2022). "Janet Kavandi of Sierra Space says on a commercial LEO destinations panel that the first Dream Chaser launch on a ULA Vulcan is now scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2023, "about a year from now."" (Tweet). Retrieved 27 April 2022 – via Twitter.
  67. ^
  68. ^ "SNC Selects ULA for Dream Chaser® Spacecraft Launches: NASA Missions to Begin in 2021". ULA Launch. 14 August 2019. Archived from the original on 14 August 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  69. ^ "Astrobotic Selects United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur Rocket to Launch its First Mission to the Moon". ULA Launch. 19 August 2019. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  70. ^ Erwin, Sandra (20 May 2021). "With ULA's new rocket Vulcan behind schedule, Space Force agrees to let Atlas 5 fill in". SpaceNews. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  71. ^ Potter, Sean. "NASA Adds Vulcan Centaur Launch Services to Launch Services Contract". NASA. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  72. ^ "America, meet Vulcan, your next United Launch Alliance rocket". Denver Post. 13 April 2015. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  73. ^ a b Erwin, Sandra (7 April 2021). "Bruno: The next big thing for ULA is a long-endurance upper stage". Space News. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  74. ^ "The Space Review: A megaconstellation megadeal". Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  75. ^ Klotz, Irene (20 July 2022). "ULA Refines Plan To Reuse Vulcan Rocket Engines". Aviation Week. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  76. ^
  77. ^ Erwin, Sandra (17 December 2020). "ULA's new rocket Vulcan projected to launch in late 2021". SpaceNews. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  78. ^ Jeff Foust [@jeff_foust] (19 September 2022). "Sierra Space's Janet Kavandi says in a panel session on the Orbital Reef commercial space station that the first flight of Dream Chaser is now planned for next summer" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  79. ^ Foust, Jeff (29 April 2022). "First Dream Chaser vehicle takes shape". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  80. ^ a b "Cargo Dream Chaser solidifies ULA deal by securing six Vulcan Centaur flights". 14 August 2019. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  81. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (10 March 2021). "ULA, SpaceX split military launch contract awards". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  82. ^ a b Clark, Stephen. "ULA, SpaceX split military launch contract awards – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 14 September 2022.
  83. ^ a b Erwin, Sandra (9 March 2021). "Space Force awards ULA, SpaceX contracts for four national security missions". SpaceNews. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  84. ^ Erwin, Sandra (29 August 2022). "New head of AFRL space vehicles looking for talent to help push technology forward". SpaceNews. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  85. ^ Erwin, Sandra (9 April 2022). "Air Force space experiment will seek to demonstrate multi-orbit satellite navigation". SpaceNews. Retrieved 30 August 2022.

External links[edit]