Tag Archives: Delta

ULA’s CEO explains why they are retiring Delta

Tory Bruno, the CEO of ULA, explained in an op-ed today why his company is discontinuing its use of Boeing’s Delta family of rockets and focusing exclusively on Lockheed Martin’s Atlas 5 and its eventual replacement, the Vulcan Centaur.

Delta is an amazing rocket, but it’s costly to produce. Its burnt-orange foam insulation has to be applied by hand. Its production line is bigger and more complex than Atlas’s. And its components are pricier.

Bruno’s purpose with this op-ed is to convince Congress to leave his company alone while they develop the new Vulcan rocket. Congress keeps proposing outlawing use of the Atlas 5 with its Russian engines, and Bruno does not want that, at least not until the Vulcan is flying. He is also trying to reduce his costs by discontinuing Delta, which in turn would allow him to lower prices for his Atlas 5 and compete more effectively with SpaceX.

Though I understand Congress’s concerns, I do find it sad that in modern America a private businessman has to lobby Congress for the right to run his company as he sees fit.

ULA has dubbed its next generation rocket Vulcan

ULA has announced its plans for replacing the Delta and Atlas 5 rockets, dubbing its new rocket Vulcan.

They plan to develop Vulcan’s first stage first and use it initially on Atlas 5 rockets so they can replace the Atlas 5 Russian engines as soon as possible. Also, they plan to recover the Vulcan rocket’s engines by having them separate from the booster after use and then get captured in a mid-air before hitting the ground. (See the graphic at the link to see a launch profile.)

In watching the press conference, ULA officials made it very clear that they are focusing a lot of their effort on lowering the cost of the rocket.

New rocket coming from ULA?

The competition heats up: The head of ULA hints that the company is developing a new rocket.

“Today, we have Atlas and Delta,” Bruno said of ULA’s product line. The company is completing studies leading to an announcement early next year of “what we will have next.” He confirmed, “It could be a new rocket.”

It could be that they have seen the writing on the wall and realize that Atlas and Delta are simply too expensive to compete with SpaceX and have decided they need to come up with something better. I hope so.

Stuck in Atlanta

First of all, thank you to all who have donated money to Behind the Black. You cannot imagine how much this is appreciated.

Second, I am stuck in Atlanta due to bad weather, including a tornado, plus the typical lies of airport employees. Had the Delta airline agents told me the truth about the bad weather in Atlanta when I was still in Phoenix, I would have grabbed a different flight to get to New York and make my flight to Israel. Instead, they lied — a typical behavior I have found from too many airline customer service agents — and told me I would have no trouble meeting my New York connection. I didn’t. They lied. GRRR.

Anyway, as I am here I have decided to try to take advantage of the delay to begin the tedious process of adjusting to Israeli time, getting up at 3 am, which is 10 am in Israel. Hopefully this will make the transition in Israel much easier.

Delta charged returning GIs $2,800 in bags fees

Another example of airline stupidity, which is why I drive whenever I can: Delta Airlines charges returning GIs $2,800 in bags fees.

Most of the GIs, it seems, had four bags. Delta only allows three for free in coach, “and anything over three bags, you have to pay for,” another soldier said, “even though there’s a contract between the U.S. government and Delta Airlines.”