Vulcan Centaur and Vulcan ACES

Vulcan Centaur Logo

Next Generation Launch System

Rendering of the ULA Vulcan blasting offWith the introduction of the Vulcan, ULA’s next generation launch system (NGLS), ULA is transforming the future of space launch — making it more affordable, accessible, and commercialized — and innovating to develop solutions to the nation’s most critical need: reliable access to space.

Unleashing Mankind’s Potential in Space

More capabilities in space mean more capabilities here on Earth. By making it more affordable
to conduct launches, Vulcan will open up brand new opportunities for the nation’s use of space.

Simple and Affordable

The NGLS offers our customers unprecedented flexibility in a single system. From low Earth orbit (LEO) to Pluto, the single-core NGLS does it all. This simple design is more cost-efficient for all customers, whether defense and national security, NASA science and human spaceflight, or commercial.

American Power

The NGLS will have an American engine, will offer the best value and with the introduction of the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) it will have greater capability than any other rocket on the market.

In step one, with a planned initial launch capability in 2019, Vulcan will exceed the capability of
Atlas V, serving the vast majority of our customers’ mission needs. Step one of the NGLS consists of single booster stage, the high-energy Centaur second stage and either a 4-meter or 5-meter-diameter payload fairing. Up to four solid rocket boosters (SRBs) augment the lift off power of the 4-meter configuration, while up to six SRBs can be added to the 5-meter.

In step two, the Centaur second stage will be replaced by the more powerful ACES in 2023. With the addition of ACES, Vulcan will achieve the current capability of the Delta IV Heavy, which carries the largest payloads for our most critical customers.

Vulcan 4-meter-diameter Payload Fairing Configuration

Vulcan 5-meter-diameter Payload Fairing Configuration