NASA has added a new rocket to its range of launch vehicles.
The United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vulcan Centaur next-generation rocket will be added to NASA’s launch vehicle catalog through an agreement with the agency’s launch program.
This capability allows new and existing providers to launch new rockets that are not currently part of NASA’s Launch Services-2 contract. To qualify, potential contractors must be able to successfully launch and deliver a minimum of £ 551. (250 kg) payload into a circular orbit of 124 miles (200 kilometers) with an inclination of 28.5 degrees (inclination is the angle of the orbit with respect to the Earth’s equator).
“ULA is honored that NASA LSP has added our Vulcan Centaur rocket to the catalog of launch vehicles available to support future space exploration missions,” ULA President and CEO Tori Bruno said in a statement. “The Vulcan Centaur, a single core vehicle, will support challenging missions with unique Phase II capabilities unmatched in the industry, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with NASA LSP.”
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The Vulcan Centaur will become ULA’s premier launch vehicle in the future as the company is phasing out some of its workhorse rockets. (ULA previously ditched its single Delta II missiles in 2018 and single-core Delta IV in 2019 and plans to phase out its Delta IV Heavy after four more launches and Atlas V after Vulcan is in full swing.) has already secured a coveted contract with the United States Space Force (USSF) to launch national security payloads in the next few years.
This contract, signed last August, has the potential to be worth billions of dollars. Over the next five years, ULA and SpaceX will launch national security missions for the Department of Defense, with ULA receiving 60% of satellite launch contracts and SpaceX receiving 40%.
The Air Force has already begun ordering missions for 2022 with new deals. SpaceX will receive $ 316 million to launch one mission, designated USSF-67, in the second half of 2022. ULA has been allocated $ 337 million to launch two missions, USSF-51 and USSF-106, scheduled for the second and fourth quarters of the fiscal year. 2022 respectively.
These missions will be carried out on a Vulcan Centaur rocket.
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