Vulcan

Capability.
Partnership.
Value.

Vulcan_ART_nowords

AMERICA'S ROCKET.
ONE SYSTEM FOR ALL MISSIONS.

  • Transformed to meet our customer's needs, our cost has dropped considerably to provide the best value choice.

  • Will provide higher performance and greater affordability while continuing to deliver our unmatched reliability and precision.

  • Flight-proven design, coupled with innovative technology, will transform the future of space launch.

  • Vulcan Photos

  • Countdown To Vulcan

CONFIGURATIONS

Vulcan Centaur is available in four standard offering configurations including zero, two, four and six solid rocket booster (SRB) variants.

Vulcan Centaur Expanded View

PERFORMANCE

Optimal orbit for each customer, delivering industry best spacecraft orbital insertion accuracy.

 

GEO

GTO

LEO-REF

LEO-ISS

LEO-POLAR

MEO

TLI

0 Solids


N/A

3,500 kg
7,700 lbs

10,800 kg
23,800 lbs

9,200 kg
20,300 lbs

8,500 kg

18,700 lbs

N/A

 

2,300 kg

5,100 lbs

2 Solids

2,600 kg
5,700 lbs

8,400 kg
18,500 lbs

19,000 kg
41,900 lbs

16,300 kg
35,900 lbs

15,200 kg
33,500 lbs

3,900 kg

8,600 lbs

6,300 kg

13,900 lbs

4 Solids

4,900 kg
10,800 lbs

11,700 kg
25,800 lbs

24,600 kg
54,200 lbs

21,600 kg
47,600 lbs

20,000 kg
44,100 lbs

6,200 kg

13,700 lbs

9,200 kg

20,300 lbs

6 Solids

6,500 kg
14,300 lb

14,500 kg
32,000 lbs

27,200 kg
60,000 lbs

25,800 kg
56,900 lbs

23,900 kg
52,700 lbs

8,100 kg

17,900 lbs

11,500 kg

25,400 lbs

Upgrade

7,000 kg
15,400 lbs

15,300 kg
33,700 lbs

27,200 kg
60,000 lbs

26,900 kg
59,300 lbs

24,900 kg
54,900 lbs

8,600 kg

19,000 lbs

12,100 kg

26,700 lbs

GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbit) = 35,786 km circular at 0 deg
GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) = 35,786 km x 185 km at 27.0 deg
LEO-Reference (Low Earth Orbit-Reference) = 200 km circular at 28.7 deg
LEO-ISS (Low Earth Orbit-International Space Station) = 407 km circular at 51.6 deg
LEO-Polar (Low Earth Orbit-Polar) = 200 km circular at 90 deg
MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) = 20,368 km circular at 55 deg
TLI (Trans-lunar Injection) = C3: -2 km2/sec2

 

Vulcan Centaur Flight Configuration Key


Example: Peregrine will fly on a VC2S, Dream Chaser will fly on a VC4L

PAYLOAD FAIRINGS

The payload fairing (PLF) provides a controlled, safe environment for spacecraft during ascent. All ULA PLFs are configured for off-pad payload encapsulation to enhance payload safety and security and minimize on-pad time.

The spacecraft is encapsulated in a 5.4-m- (17.7-ft-) diameter payload fairing (PLF), a sandwich composite structure made with a vented aluminum-honeycomb core and graphite-epoxy face sheets. The bisector (two-piece shell) PLF encapsulates the spacecraft. The payload attach fitting (PAF) is a similar sandwich composite structure creating the mating interface from spacecraft to second stage and payload fairing. The PLF separates using a debris-free horizontal and vertical separation system with spring packs and frangible joint assembly. The payload fairing is available in the 15.5-m (51-ft) standard and 21.3-m (70-ft) long configurations.

Multi-Manifest

Access to orbit remains a critical hurdle for many missions. However, ULA provides flexible and cost-effective multi-manifest solutions to overcome this barrier. With multi-manifest, two or more spacecraft are integrated on a launch vehicle using available performance and volume margin that would otherwise go unused — optimizing mass to orbit and enabling missions. Multi-Manifest on a Vulcan rocket provides a highly reliable and schedule certain launch solution for spacecraft ranging from CubeSats to small sats and beyond.

Dependent on the size of the spacecraft, multi-manifesting on a Vulcan can be done in several ways. The Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) interfaces at the aft end of the Centaur upper stage and can carry up to 24U CubeSats weighing 80 kg each. The Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA Ring) is located between the upper stage and the primary payload and can accommodate 4-6 payload modules weighing up to 318 kg each. Finally, for small satellites exceeding the mass of an ESPA capability, the Multi-Payload Canister System is a load-bearing separating canister that can be utilized to enclose an aft small satellite while supporting a forward traditional large satellite.

Vulcan Centaur Multi Launch Diagram

PROPULSION

Main Engine

Booster propulsion is provided by a pair of BE-4 engines, manufactured by Blue Origin.

  • Nominal Thrust (sea level): 550,000 lbs

  • Fuel/Oxidizer: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)/Liquid Oxygen (LO2)

Solid Rocket Boosters

Vulcan integrates up to six Northrop Grumman Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM) 63XL Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs). They are constructed out of a graphite-epoxy composite with the throttle profile designed into the propellant grain. GEM solids supported the Delta II and Delta IV rockets, and the GEM 63 variant will fly on ULA’s Atlas V rocket prior to the first Vulcan launch.

  • Peak Vacuum Thrust: 459,600 lbs

  • Length: 71.8 ft

  • Nominal Burn Time: 90 seconds

Upper Stage

Vulcan will rely on two RL10C engines to power its second stage. Logging an impressive record of nearly 400 successful flights and nearly 700 firings in space, RL10 engines, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, harness the power of high-energy liquid hydrogen. The RL10 boasts a precision control system and restart capability to accurately place payloads into orbit.

  • Nominal Thrust: 24,000 lbs

  • Fuel/Oxidizer: Liquid Hydrogen/Liquid Oxygen

INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATES

ULA has been heavily investing in modifying our factory in Decatur, Alabama, and modernize our infrastructure at the launch facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to support Vulcan rockets. Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) will be the first dual-use pad launching both Atlas V and Vulcan rocket families.

Decatur, Alabama Factory

  • New automated tooling solution for 5.4-meter-diameter Centaur V
  • Universal weld system and welding equipment upgrades
  • Robotic assembly line for tank fabrication
  • New tooling for integration, testing and checkout
  • Additional modernization for maximum efficiency and reliability

Cape Canaveral, Florida Launch Facilities

  • Upgraded Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) platforms, decks and crane to accommodate all Atlas and Vulcan configurations
  • Modifications to SLC-41 to accommodate Vulcan processing and launch:
    • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) ground systems
    • Increasing the fuel and oxidizer storage capacity
    • Increasing acoustic water suppression system capacity
  • Upgraded former solid rocket assembly facility, now known as Spaceflight Processing Operations Center (SPOC), to accommodate Vulcan Launch Platform (VLP) construction and storage
  • Renovated the rail system from SLC-41 to the SPOC to accommodate Mobile Launch Platform (MLP)/VLP transport and overlapping Vulcan and Atlas
    launch campaigns
  • Additional modernization for maximum efficiency and reliability

Atlas V

LaunchVehicles_AtlasVLargeHeader

Delta IV

LaunchVehicles_DIVLargeHeader

Delta II

LaunchVehicles_DIILargeHeader

ULA Sets Path Forward for Inaugural Vulcan Flight Test

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is nearing completion of the development of the next-generation Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle and sets path for its first launch early next year.