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The competition heats up: ULA’s Vulcan rocket has passed its first design review.
This is good news for ULA, but I wouldn’t get too excited. Announcements like this often have little to do with any real construction, and are often made to give the impression to the public and Congress and other investors that something is happening. Right now, all ULA is doing is pushing paper around. Only when they start cutting metal and testing real equipment will I consider Vulcan for real.
The article does provide an interesting tidbit. Despite protests that ULA hasn’t yet made a decision between Blue Origin or Aerojet Rocketdyne for the first stage engine of Vulcan, it was Blue Origin’s engine that they used for the design review, suggesting that this is the engine they plan on using in the real rocket.