Centennial, Colo. and Kent, Wash. â€“ Sept. 10, 2015 â€“ United
Launch Alliance (ULA), the nationâ€™s premier space launch company, and Blue
Origin, LLC, a privately-funded aerospace company owned by Amazon.com founder
Jeff Bezos, announced today the signing of an agreement to expand production
capabilities for the American-made BE-4 engine that will power the Vulcan next
generation launch system.
The BE-4 engine offers the fastest path to a domestic
alternative to the Russian RD-180. Development is on schedule to achieve
qualification for flight in 2017 to support the first Vulcan flight in 2019.
“This agreement gets us closer to having an affordable,
domestic and innovative engine that will help the Vulcan rocket exceed the
capability of the Atlas V on its first flight and open brand new opportunities
for the nationâ€™s use of space,â€ said Tory Bruno, president and chief executive
officer of ULA. “This partnership enables each company to leverage its
strengths, with ULA bringing production excellence and mission assurance, and
Blue Origin bringing innovative engineering concepts and a commitment to
lowering the cost of spaceflight.â€
“The BE-4 engine test program is well underway with more
than 60 staged-combustion tests already on the books,â€ said Jeff Bezos, founder
of Blue Origin. “This new agreement is an important step toward building BE-4s
at the production rate needed for the Vulcan launch vehicle.â€
The Vulcan Rocket brings
together decades of experience on ULAâ€™s reliable Atlas and Delta vehicles,
combining the best features of each to produce an all-new, American-made rocket
that will enable mission success from low Earth orbit all the way to Pluto.
The BE-4 is a liquid oxygen, liquefied natural gas (LNG) rocket
engine that delivers 550,000-lbf of thrust at sea level. Two BE-4s would
power each ULA Vulcan booster, providing 1,100,000-lbf thrust at liftoff.
ULA is teaming in the development of the BE-4 to enable availability for
national security, civil, human and commercial missions.
the BE-4 engine has been underway for more than three years and testing of the
BE-4 components is ongoing at Blue Originâ€™s test facilities in West
About United Launch Alliance
With more than a century of combined heritage,
United Launch Alliance is the nationâ€™s most experienced and reliable launch
service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 95 satellites to
orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid
meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS
navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company
developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space
transportation. Blue Origin has a long-term vision of greatly increasing
the number of people that fly into space so that we humans can better continue
exploring the solar system. For more information and a list of job
openings, please visit us at www.blueorigin.com.