The awards made by the Area Enterprise Consortium are for prototypes that can be collectively funded by the federal government and the contractors
WASHINGTON — Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance have been chosen to take part in expertise improvement initiatives to advance rocket engine testing and launch automobile higher phases, the U.S. Area Pressure Area Techniques Command introduced Sept. 24.
The awards made by the Area Enterprise Consortium are for prototypes that can be collectively funded by the federal government and the contractors beneath partnerships generally known as OTAs, or different transaction authority. The contracts have been cut up between present nationwide safety launch suppliers SpaceX and ULA, and new entrants Blue Origin and Rocket Lab that may compete in 2024 for the subsequent spherical of nationwide safety launch service contracts.
- Blue Origin will obtain $24.3 million for cryogenic fluid administration for its New Glenn rocket’s second stage.
- Rocket Lab will get $24.3 million for higher stage improvement of its future launch automobile Neutron.
- SpaceX will get $14.4 million for testing applied sciences for its next-generation Raptor engine: speedy throttling and restart testing; liquid methane specification improvement and testing; and combustion stability evaluation and testing.
- ULA will get $24.3 million for uplink command and management for Centaur 5, the higher stage of the corporate’s new rocket Vulcan Centaur.
The SpEC consortium solicited proposals for these projects on May 11.
“We’re excited to companion with business to advance transformational house entry capabilities,” stated Col. Rob Bongiovi, director of Area Techniques Command’s Launch Enterprise.
The Raptor testing contract awarded to SpaceX was funded by a $15 million appropriation that Congress added to the 2021 protection price range for next-generation engine testing. “This prototype effort will advance state-of-the-art in rocket engines, together with new applied sciences to allow house entry and mobility,” the SpEC consortium stated.
The opposite three initiatives for higher stage expertise are funded in fiscal 12 months 2022. The Area Techniques Command stated the contracts can be awarded early subsequent 12 months pending congressional approval of the 2022 price range request.
These are “orbital switch prototype initiatives to enhance house entry functionality for nationwide safety launch programs,” the SpEC stated. “Anticipated advantages embody lowering prices by permitting procurement of decrease power launch automobile configurations, and bettering mass-to-orbit functionality” specifically for trajectories past geosynchronous orbit.