Air Force asks private companies to develop new rocket engines

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The competition heats up: The Air Force has issued a request for proposals for the development of new rocket engines to replace the Russian engine used on the Atlas 5 rocket.

The press release is a little vague in that it seems to be calling for the development of this new engine, but it could also be interpreted as calling for the development of an entire rocket system. The amount of money involved is too small for this, however, so I suspect we are only talking about engine development here.

Meanwhile, they will continue to issue launch contracts to ULA and SpaceX while they wait for this new engine to be developed. Note also that this sure is a good deal for ULA, getting the Air Force to pay for upgrades to its Atlas 5 rocket.

One comment

  • pzatchok

    Take away subsidies with one hand and give them back with the other.

    ‘No use making our ULA buddies spend their own money and time developing something of their own.’

    I wonder if in the end ULA tries to lease the Russian design and finds someone to manufacture it for them stateside.
    The US military did this when they adopted the 9mm Beretta side arm years ago.
    They couldn’t buy foreign equipment but instead Beretta made a deal where if they won the contract they would build a manufacturing plant in the US.
    This is done with equipment among all the NATO nations.

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