United Launch Alliance progresses towards purpose-built Vulcan Centaur rocket for national security space missions

CENTENNIAL, Colo., - Last week, United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno gave an update on the continued progress of the Vulcan Centaur space launch vehicle during a ULA media event at the 35th Space Symposium.

United Launch Alliance progresses towards purpose-built Vulcan Centaur rocket for national security space missions
United Launch Alliance progresses towards purpose-built Vulcan Centaur rocket for national security space missions
CENTENNIAL, Colo., - Last week, United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno gave an update on the continued progress of the Vulcan Centaur space launch vehicle during a ULA media event at the 35th Space Symposium.

“As the nation faces growing threats in the space environment, ULA is unleashing the energy of American ingenuity by developing the Vulcan Centaur,” said Bruno. “Purpose built to meet our nation’s needs for expanding space missions, the Vulcan Centaur’s innovative technology is transforming the future of launch and will advance America’s superiority in space.”

Panelists from key ULA suppliers including Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, Dynetics, L3 Technologies, Northrop Grumman and RUAG discussed their timeline, components, technology, and manufacturing techniques as they move forward building and testing hardware in advance of the Vulcan Centaur’s first flight in 2021.

Related: United Launch Alliance successfully puts USAF SATCOM satellite into orbit

“The strong team behind the Vulcan Centaur, including ULA’s supplier base, is proud to be building a rocket to launch critical American defense assets. Vulcan Centaur will provide higher performance and greater affordability while also continuing to deliver our unmatched reliability and precision,” said Bruno.

According to the comapny, it is significantly investing in and modernizing the factory in Decatur, Alabama, and upgrading launch facilities to be more capable and flexible.

“When designing Vulcan Centaur, we took the best of Atlas and Delta and carried that over to our new rocket,” said Bruno. “In addition, many of Vulcan Centaur’s major components will be flown first on Atlas V missions such as the solid rocket boosters, avionics, software, upper-stage engine and payload fairings, lowering the risk of the first flight.”

Related: United Launch Alliance wins contract to launch three national security space missions for the Department of Defense

ULA has successfully delivered 133 satellites to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system and support life-saving technology. For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com.

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