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Forum:Commercial Space - Military Space
Topic:[Discuss] ULA's Vulcan Centaur rocket
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cspgA Delta II on steroids?

The solids are back — quite a different design from the Delta IV.

Jim BehlingThe solids never left. The Atlas V solids are the basis for Vulcan's. Vulcan is more like Atlas V than Delta IV. Delta IV only provides the tank diameter.
SpaceAngelFrom what I read on Wikipedia, it says that ULA is going to discontinue the Delta rockets (including the heavy lift one) sometime in the near future; if that's the case, what kind of rockets will succeed them?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Robert PearlmanULA's intends the Vulcan to replace both its Delta and Atlas launch vehicles.
AeropixMarketing is important. I wonder if ULA intentionally chose both the name and logo for this vehicle to be closely matching "Falcon" of SpaceX.

I'm sure nobody will ever admit it but at first glance the logos look somewhat similar in color and shape, and "Vulcan" / "Falcon" similar sounding whether you buy into this theory or not.

Robert PearlmanULA employees submitted name suggestions, then the company then put it to a public vote. "Vulcan" was not on the original ballot but was added as a write-in suggestion. More than one million votes were received, leading to Vulcan being chosen.
SpaceAngelWhen the Delta IV and Atlas V rockets are retired, what will become of the launch complexes (i.e. 37 and 41)?
Jim BehlingVulcan will fly from 41. 37 will go back to the Air Force.
Robert PearlmanFrom United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno on Twitter:
The age of Vulcan has begun... The first flight panel is being bump formed.
Robert PearlmanUnited Launch Alliance (ULA) video release
Vulcan Centaur is built on more than 120 combined years of launch experience. An evolution of the flight proven, highly successful Atlas V and Delta IV vehicles, Vulcan Centaur introduces a balance of new technologies and innovative features to ensure a reliable and affordable space launch service. Launching in 2021.
Robert PearlmanFrom ULA CEO Tory Bruno (via Twitter):
Now that is a beautiful sight! A pair of Blue Origin BE-4 engines installed on a Vulcan Centaur booster for pathfinding operations in preparation for launch in 2021.
Robert PearlmanFrom ULA CEO Tory Bruno (via Twitter):
The Vulcan Centaur PTT [Pathfinder Tanking Test] booster was transferred from the SPOC [Spaceflight Processing Operations Center] to the pad today [Aug. 25] for a series of fueling tests in the coming weeks
olyI wonder how many configuration changes are required between the Vulcan Centaur and Atlas launch vehicle infrastructure at the launch pad. While this test would have been scheduled into the launch site diary, configuration changes will probably reduce the chance of rescheduled launches finding an available slot that aligns with launch windows.

Is the plan for Vulcan Centaur to eventually be crew rated?

Robert PearlmanThe crew access tower was built to support both Atlas V and Vulcan, with the expectation that Starliner may move to Vulcan someday. Modifications to the Vertical Integration Facility were completed earlier such that it can support both vehicles.

The Vulcan launch platform is in use with the PTT now.

Robert PearlmanFrom United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno (via Twitter):
Hmmm. What do you suppose this is? I wonder if it has anything to do with the Vulcan rocket?

Previously from Bruno:

Engines!! Vulcan Flight BE-4s heading to the build stand.
Robert PearlmanUnited Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno (via Twitter) has shared a photo of the first Blue Origin BE-4 engine being prepared for its flight on Vulcan:
Here is a pic of BE-4 flight 1. And that's just from the combustion chamber up. The bell is below the platform (and out of sight) for easy access for Blue Origin's skilled technicians to assemble this part of the engine.

And from earlier, a photo of the first Vulcan booster:

SkyMan1958I'm glad that ULA is starting to get the BE-4 and is starting the whole installation purpose. I wish them well with it, and I hope ULA is successful with the Vulcan Centaur.
Robert PearlmanUnited Launch Alliance has pushed the debut launch of its new Vulcan rocket to early 2023 at the request of one of its customers, Reuters reports.
"We're not going to fly before the end of the year," ULA Chief Executive Tory Bruno said in an interview with two reporters.

He added ULA's customer Astrobotic, a robotics firm using Vulcan to launch a lunar lander, asked for the launch date to be moved to the first quarter of 2023 to buy more time to finish the lander's development.

Astrobotic's request officially axes ULA's previous goal to launch Vulcan by year's end, a target already imperiled by development delays with the rocket's engines that are being built by billionaire Jeff Bezos' space company, Blue Origin.

"The engines are later than our original schedule that had us flying in December, and it would put a lot of pressure on December," Bruno said.

Robert PearlmanBlue Origin has delivered the first two BE-4 flight engines to United Launch Alliance for integration into the first Vulcan Centaur.

Flight Engine (FE) 2 is installed. FE1 will join it soon.

Robert PearlmanThe first launch of United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur rocket is now scheduled for no earlier than May 4, reports SpaceNews.
In a call with reporters Feb. 23, ULA Chief Executive Tory Bruno announced the date for the long-awaited inaugural flight of the rocket as the company gears up for a series of tests of the rocket at Space Launch Complex 41. The launch will carry Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander, two demonstration satellites for Amazon's Project Kuiper broadband constellation and a payload for space memorial company Celestis.

"We are now targeting the fourth of May so we plan our manifest around that and be ready to fly that payload when it comes in," Bruno said. ULA will have a window of about four days to conduct the launch.

Several factors led ULA to select that date. One is the mission requirements of Peregrine, the primary payload on the launch, which has a window of only a few days each month to fly its trajectory to the moon.

A second is a series of tests of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, currently in the vertical integration facility adjacent to the pad. Bruno said the rocket will roll out to the pad "a few days from now" for tanking tests followed by at least one wet dress rehearsal where the vehicle is fully loaded with propellants and goes through a practice countdown, stopping just before engine ignition.

That will followed by what ULA calls a flight readiness firing, a wet dress rehearsal that ends with a firing of the BE-4 engines in the booster at about 70% of rated thrust for 3.5 seconds. "That is more than adequate for us to understand all of those systems," he said.

After the flight readiness firing, the rocket will return to the integration facility for payload integration, then be rolled back to the pad for launch.

In parallel, ULA and Blue Origin are finishing the formal qualification of the BE-4 engine, which Bruno described as the "pacing item" for the launch. "It's taking a little bit longer than anticipated."

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