ULA on schedule for maiden flight of Vulcan in early 2021

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Capitalism in space: According to ULA, the development program for its new Vulcan rocket remains on schedule, and will make its maiden flight in early 2021 as initially planned.

The launch will send Astrobotic’s privately built Peregrine lander to the Moon, carrying NASA science instruments.

The article provides a good overview not only of the status of construction, but also the political history that forced the development of Vulcan, that being the insistence by Congress that ULA stop using Russian engines in its rockets.


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  • V-Man

    “Vulcan can be assembled in less than 10 months…”

    Geez! What are they doing, hand-machining every fastener and panel??

    It wouldn’t be that bad if they were at least re-using the darn things. And don’t get me started on their use of solid boosters.

  • Scott M.

    With that news, it looks like Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine will fly well before the New Glenn rocket. At least they’ll get some good test data before their own maiden flight.

  • Edward

    You may enjoy this video about the making of ULA rockets (pre-Vulcan era).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0fG_lnVhHw (an hour)

    Fasteners are not the long lead time items.

  • LocalFluff

    Methane and BE-engines are surely improvements. It seems it will be able to launch anything that the shuttle or Delta IV Heavy could, which should fit the military’s requirements. But one wonders how anything will be able to compete with SpaceX. They aren’t even using the modularity that the Soviets and Russians like, with their Energia/Zenith/Buran and Angara1/3/5/7 concepts.

    Thanks for the link, Edward!

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