Narrows Propulsion Options Toward Development of New Domestic Engine

Centennial, Colo., (Sept. 12, 2014) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced today that it will support the United States Air Force's Request for Information (RFI) for a new national engine and that it is finalizing details related to developing its own next generation, first-stage American engine with a U.S. aerospace partner.

In June, ULA signed commercial contracts with multiple American companies to complete technical feasibility analysis, develop high-fidelity plans, identify schedule, cost and technical risks, as well as cost estimates to develop future engines.  

As part of the now-completed study effort, ULA identified the critical technologies and has initiated a new phase of targeted investments to mature these technologies in order to preserve schedule and mitigate risk to support a first launch in 2019.

“ULA is encouraged to have outstanding options identified through the study effort and the new phase of investment will keep us on track to select our next generation systems concept by the end of the year,” said Dr. George Sowers, ULA’s vice president of Advanced Programs and lead for the propulsion activities. “As the nation’s premier space launch company, we take seriously our responsibility to continue to provide the U.S. government with the most cost-efficient, innovative and reliable launch vehicles for the future.”

ULA will utilize its proven approach of low-risk evolution to field the most competitive products into the future.  

“No one can deny the tremendous performance and reliability the RD-180 engine has provided,” said Sowers. “However, it is critical to our near-term national security space missions and the capabilities those missions provide, to have a phased and measured approach of continuing to fly those engines, while simultaneously working to develop a new American engine for future missions.”

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 85 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system. ULA – Bringing rocket science down to Earth.

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