The United Launch Alliance has signed contracts with several U.S. companies to move towards creating a next-generation rocket engine, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Andrea Shalal writes the joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin will choose one company to investigate next-generation liquid oxygen/ hydrocarbon first stage propulsion concepts to build the rocket engine as an alternative to the Russian-built engine used in launches.
The DoD has said they are moving away from the use of Russian built engines due to the turmoil in Ukraine, according to Reuters.
“As the nation's steward of the launch industrial base and the only company certified to launch our nation's most critical missions, it is incumbent upon ULA to bring forward the best solutions to preserve that capability for the future,“ said Michael Gass, president and chief executive of ULA.
The ULA expects initial launches to start in 2019, and said each company under contract would create a technical feasibility analysis, develop plans, identify schedule, cost and technical risks, and cost estimates for a U.S. built rocket engine, Reuters reported.