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United Launch Alliance/Blue Origin tie-up (RD-180 engine replacement project)

Grey Havoc

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/16/us-boeing-lockheed-martin-bezos-idUSKBN0HB0UU20140916

ULA had sent out a request for information asking the U.S. aerospace industry earlier this year for ideas on how to replace the Russian-built RD-180 that powers ULA's heavy-lift Atlas 5 rockets, which are used to launch many U.S. military and spy satellites.

Tensions with Russia over its actions in Ukraine have raised concerns that Russia could cut off deliveries of the RD-180 engines, according to U.S. officials, who hope to start funding work on a U.S. alternative in the Pentagon's 2016 budget.

The partnership agreement will pit Bezos against Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, which is seeking certification from the Air Force for its own Falcon 9 rockets.

The certification was due to be completed by the end of this year, but may now slip into next year, according to U.S. officials. They said the process may be slowed while officials look into the recent explosion of a SpaceX experimental rocket that uses the same engine as the Falcon 9.
 

Grey Havoc

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http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140918/DEFREG02/309180036



ORIGINAL CAPTION: Jeff Bezos, right, the founder of Blue Origin and Amazon.com, gestures toward a model of the BE-4 rocket engine during a press conference with Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance, on Wednesday. (Win McNamee/ / Getty Images)
http://www.defensenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014309170042​

The engine in question is the Blue Engine 4 (BE-4), which Bezos said could provide 555,000 pounds of thrust, operating with liquefied natural gas.

In the future, the engine also has the potential to be reusable, although that won’t occur for EELV purposes, Bezos told reporters.

Both men stressed that the Blue Origin team has been working on the engine for three years, which should reduce needed development time. Analysts have estimated that developing a new engine from scratch could take anywhere from five to seven years and cost $1 billion.

“By partnering with [Blue Origin], we have the opportunity to really cut that cycle in half,” Bruno said. “That means that in about four years from now we will be in a position to start flying rockets with this engine technology.”

ULA is making a “significant” investment in Blue Origin, Bezos said, but declined to say how much money the launch company was funneling to its new partner.

The engines will be adapted for the Atlas V and Delta IV, ULA’s existing launch vehicles. That will require some re-engineering on the vehicles to adjust for the differences in size and weight of the new stage-one rocket engines. ULA engineers are studying that issue and expect to make their decisions public by the end of the year, Bruno said.
 

sferrin

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The politicians are already crying about it. They don't want to miss out on the opportunity to funnel pork to their constituents.
 

Byeman

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sferrin said:
The politicians are already crying about it. They don't want to miss out on the opportunity to funnel pork to their constituents.


Do you have some links to share which backup your assertion?
 

sferrin

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Byeman said:
sferrin said:
The politicians are already crying about it. They don't want to miss out on the opportunity to funnel pork to their constituents.


Do you have some links to share which backup your assertion?

From last week's AvWeek:

"Apparently the all-private venture to build a new U.S. rocket engine does not meet the needs of some members of Congress. In a letter to President Barack Obama sent the same day that the United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin announced plans to build a replacement for the Russian RD-180 (see page 26), a flock of House members note that their legislative chamber wants to appropriate $220 million to do the same thing with government funds. "

Basically if private industry does it on their own the pols won't have an excuse to gather pork to their states. Good, I say.
 

Moose

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Not that I in any way dispute the fact that pork is foremost on their minds, I doubt most of those that signed that letter had any idea what Blue and ULA were up to.
 

sferrin

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Moose said:
Not that I in any way dispute the fact that pork is foremost on their minds, I doubt most of those that signed that letter had any idea what Blue and ULA were up to.

"Probably because of work at the National Institute for Rocket Propulsion Systems in Alabama—also aimed at replacing the Russian engine—the state was well-represented among lawmakers who signed the letter (AW&ST Sept. 15, p. 27). The institute is headquartered at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, and the letter-writers urge Obama to set up an Air Force program office that “should” cooperate with the NASA institute to “ensure national security space launch competition.”

I'm sure it went something like this. People in Huntsville caught wind of the deal, realized if B.O. and ULA pulled it off that would make them less important. They then called the local pols and put it in terms they understood, "no pork for you" who then piously proclaimed that it was a bad idea for "competition's sake". Please. Two private companies can do what they want, and do it much more efficiently than the government. It's crap like this that really steams me. They have absolutely no interest in "best for national security". It's all about pork, power, and prestige. :mad:
 

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http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/The-RD180-Replacement.pdf
 

Michel Van

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ULA push for BE-4 engine (oxygen Methane)
USAF push for AR-1 engine (oxygen Kerosine)
Those engines will ready around 2020 to replace RD-180 (depends if Putin not pull plug, out that deal earlier)
follow by struggle wich we gonna use on ULA Atlas the AR-1 or BE-4 ?

In 2016 November SpaceX Test launch of Falcon Heavy with landing of there Booster at Cape.
And Elon Musk offer launch prize 40% Cheaper as ULA or Ariane space.
Until 2020 the launch of US spy sat will be monopole of SpaceX reusable rocket.

Off course this will influence by who gonna be next US president and reaction of Russian on that...
 

Flyaway

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Blue Origin retains engine lead as House considers limitations on launch system funding
[A]t a briefing of staff members organized by the House Armed Services Committee June 23, an independent assessment prepared by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center reportedly confirmed that BE-4 maintained a major schedule advantage over the AR1 despite the testing setback.

“They are two years behind Blue Origin,” one meeting attendee, not authorized to speak on the record, said of the assessment’s conclusion about AR1. Another year would be needed to integrate the engine with a launch vehicle.

The BE-4 powerpack testing mishap raised a number of questions by those at the briefing, the source said, but the NASA assessment concluded it would not have a major effect on the overall testing program for the engine. “They should be on track to restart testing in late summer and still stay on schedule,” the attendee recalled.

That confidence is based on the hardware-rich testing approach the company has promoted. The briefing attendee noted the NASA assessment’s concerns about the AR1 were focused on its schedule and cost, rather than its technical development.
 

Michel Van

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About the BE-4 powerpack testing mishap

On May 13, 2017
Blue Origin lost during testing, a Turbopump assembly of BE-4.
That normal during Testing program and Blue Origin have surplus hardware for that problem
therefore they are on schedule for 2019 launch date of "New Glenn"

While AR1 is 18~24 months behind, do late start of program and under budget (so far i know)

http://spacenews.com/blue-origin-suffers-be-4-testing-mishap/
 

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Last I'd heard from sources in the industry, the AR-1 will NOT be selected for two reasons:

1. ULA's designing the Vulcan's tankage for LOx/Methane, not LOx/RP-1.
2. Aerojet Rocketdyne is putting just enough effort into the AR-1 to keep it making progress of any sort, but not enough to get it ready to fly in the next decade, let alone this one.
 

sferrin

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MaverickSawyer said:
Last I'd heard from sources in the industry, the AR-1 will NOT be selected for two reasons:

1. ULA's designing the Vulcan's tankage for LOx/Methane, not LOx/RP-1.
2. Aerojet Rocketdyne is putting just enough effort into the AR-1 to keep it making progress of any sort, but not enough to get it ready to fly in the next decade, let alone this one.

Sounds like Aerojet Rocketdyne is CTD just like ULA.
 

MaverickSawyer

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sferrin said:
Sounds like Aerojet Rocketdyne is CTD just like ULA.

TBH, they're far worse than ULA. Aerojet Rocketdyne is not going to stay in business much longer if they keep down the track they're on. OrbitalATK, SpaceX, and Blue Origin will gleefully take their business out from under them.
 

Byeman

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sferrin said:
MaverickSawyer said:
Last I'd heard from sources in the industry, the AR-1 will NOT be selected for two reasons:

1. ULA's designing the Vulcan's tankage for LOx/Methane, not LOx/RP-1.
2. Aerojet Rocketdyne is putting just enough effort into the AR-1 to keep it making progress of any sort, but not enough to get it ready to fly in the next decade, let alone this one.

Sounds like Aerojet Rocketdyne is CTD just like ULA.

ULA is far from that
 

Byeman

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MaverickSawyer said:
sferrin said:
Sounds like Aerojet Rocketdyne is CTD just like ULA.

TBH, they're far worse than ULA. Aerojet Rocketdyne is not going to stay in business much longer if they keep down the track they're on. OrbitalATK, SpaceX, and Blue Origin will gleefully take their business out from under them.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has other customers and this is not a huge loss
 

sferrin

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Byeman said:
MaverickSawyer said:
sferrin said:
Sounds like Aerojet Rocketdyne is CTD just like ULA.

TBH, they're far worse than ULA. Aerojet Rocketdyne is not going to stay in business much longer if they keep down the track they're on. OrbitalATK, SpaceX, and Blue Origin will gleefully take their business out from under them.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has other customers and this is not a huge loss

If they want to stay in the business of liquid propellant engines it is. New programs don't come along every day.
 

Flyaway

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ULA feels no schedule pressure to select Vulcan engine

WASHINGTON — The chief executive of United Launch Alliance said Nov. 9 that he doesn’t feel any urgency to select a main engine for his company’s next-generation Vulcan rocket, despite an impending deadline for an Air Force launch competition.

During a question-and-answer session after his speech at a Washington Space Business Roundtable luncheon, Bruno declined to give an update on the competition between the BE-4 engine from Blue Origin and the AR1 from Aerojet Rocketdyne to power the first stage of the Vulcan.

ULA has long indicted its preferred choice is the BE-4, but wanted to wait until the engine completed a series of test firings to confirm it would be suitable. Blue Origin announced Oct. 19 it had carried out the first hotfire test of the engine, but has not disclosed if it has carried out any additional tests to date. Bruno didn’t comment on that test beyond the statement ULA issued at the time congratulating Blue Origin for the achievement.

http://spacenews.com/ula-feels-no-schedule-pressure-to-select-vulcan-engine/
 

Michel Van

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Flyaway said:
ULA feels no schedule pressure to select Vulcan engine

From ULA standpoint it make sense
The BE-4 still in it's Qualification test, while Aerojet Rocketdyne AR1 is far behind schedule

If ULA make not fatal mistake here.
because waiting on engine will delay the Vulcan rocket further to 2020
The hardware specification are totally different between Kerolox and Methalox.
while ULA figure that out
SpaceX Falcon Heavy does it test flight in December 2017. follow by Blue Origin New Glenn in 2020.

if that case and ULA Vulcan is only ready after 2020
SpaceX and Blue Origin already start dominate the Launch market then.
While SpaceX shift to BFR construction, test launch and operation (probably Blue Origin will work on New Armstrong)
and there Chinese and India do construction, test launch and operation on there reusable systems (The wildcard in this Game)
That make Arianespace & ULA Hardware become obsolete compare to that...

how say Michail Gorbatschow it again ? "Life punishes the latecomer"!
 

Flyaway

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Air Force and Aerojet Rocketdyne renegotiating AR1 agreement

http://spacenews.com/air-force-and-aerojet-rocketdyne-renegotiating-ar1-agreement/
 

Flyaway

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Financial documents raise questions about AR1 engine’s readiness
"We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019," the company said.

Eric Berger - 2/28/2018, 2:11 PM

Publicly, the venerable US rocket engine company Aerojet Rocketdyne maintains that it is committed to finishing development of its powerful new AR1 engine by 2019. By meeting this deadline, company officials say, they will provide an all-American engine in time for use by United Launch Alliance's next-generation rocket.

However, a review of recent financial US Securities and Exchange Commission filings by Aerojet reveals that, even as it says progress is being made toward completing the AR1 rocket engine, the company is spending substantially less money developing it.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/aerojet-has-dramatically-cut-internal-funding-for-its-ar1-rocket-engine/
 

Flyaway

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BE-4 engine tests continue as ULA waits to make Vulcan engine decision

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — As Blue Origin continues tests of its BE-4 engine, United Launch Alliance is keeping quiet about when it might select that engine or an alternative for its Vulcan rocket.

http://spacenews.com/be-4-engine-tests-continue-as-ula-waits-to-make-vulcan-engine-decision/
 

Flyaway

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ULA Selects Blue Origin Advanced Booster Engine for Vulcan Centaur Rocket System

Centennial, Colo., Sept. 27, 2018 – United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) next-generation rocket - the Vulcan Centaur - is making strong progress in development and is on track for its initial flight in mid-2020. The Vulcan Centaur rocket design leverages the proven success of the Delta IV and Atlas V launch vehicles while introducing advanced technologies and innovative features.

https://www.ulalaunch.com/about/news-detail/2018/09/27/united-launch-alliance-building-rocket-of-the-future-with-industry-leading-strategic-partnerships
 

TomS

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I'm not sure what's so novel about this explanation. It was explicit in the early 1990s that we were subsidizing Russian space launch efforts to keep former Soviet scientists from going to work for proliferation risk countries. The fact that it continues 25 years later is mostly down to inertia.
 

Michel Van

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I'm not sure what's so novel about this explanation.

The other reason is: Vulcan is not yet launch and not Manned rated either.
For Moment ULA is only provider for Boeing Starliner, to be launch with Atlas V rocket that use a RD-180 engine.
And that will not change over time.
 

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