Tag Archives: Delta 4

ULA to trim working launchpads from 5 to 2

The competition heats up: In order to lower its fixed costs, ULA plans to reduce the number of launchpads it maintains from 5 to 2, one at Kennedy and Vandenberg respectively.

Right now they need to maintain three separate launchpads to operate the Delta 2, Delta 4, and Delta Heavy, which is the main reason the Delta family of rockets is so expensive. This is also the reason that the Delta 2 and Delta Heavy only launch from Vandenberg, as ULA has retired their launchpads at Kennedy.

It appears that ULA’s plan is to design their next generation rocket much like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, with as simple as system of launch facilities as possible.

Replacing the Russian-made rocket engines used by the Atlas 5 and Antares rockets would take about four years, according to a industry analysis.

Replacing the Russian-made rocket engines used by the Atlas 5 and Antares rockets would take about four years, according to Aerojet Rocketdyne.

The company presently refurbishes the Russian engines used by Antares, and is building a host of other engines for other rockets.

In related news, ULA has begun considering shifting some of its military launches from the Atlas 5 to the Delta family of rockets. The company has also released previously undisclosed pricing information for its bulk buy military launches.

Michael Gass, chief executive of Denver-based ULA, said the company’s average per-launch price to the U.S. government is $225 million, a figure that includes the block buy contract as well as pre-existing launch backlog. That figure represents the combined value of the contracts divided by the number of missions.

That $225 million figure, though far less than previously believed, is a little more than twice what SpaceX says it would charge for a comparable launch.

Engine problems on a Delta 4 rocket launch two weeks ago could delay the launch of the Atlas 5 rocket scheduled to lift the X-37B on its next mission.

Engine problems on a Delta 4 rocket launch two weeks ago could delay the launch of the Atlas 5 rocket scheduled to lift the X-37B on its next mission.

Don’t ask me why the military would delay an Atlas 5 launch because of problems on a Delta 4. It seems to be left over caution from the 1960s, when no rocket was reliable and they were trying to figure out how to do it. Now, it simply seems silly.

ATK and ULA yesterday successfully tested the solid rocket strap-on motor that is used by their Delta 4 rocket.

The competition heats up: ATK and ULA yesterday successfully tested the solid rocket strap-on motor that is used by their Delta 4 rocket. With video.

They are using a new manufacturer for the motor’s nozzle, and needed to test this under cold conditions.