Tory Bruno, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance, has said he believes the passage of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act would help pave the way for ULA to further develop the Vulcan rocket, Via Satellite reported Thursday.
Caleb Henry writes House and Senate lawmakers work to reconcile through a conference the two versions of the 2017 NDAA that would authorize the procurement of up to 18 additional Russian-built RD-180 engines.
Bruno told the publication the proposed bill would provide the Boeing–Lockheed Martin joint venture enough supply of RD-180s in order to transition to a U.S. alternative that would be used to support the launch of the Vulcan rocket, which will replace ULA’s Atlas V and Delta family of rockets.
“We are doing this very fast — this engine and rocket development that we are now in the middle of is going to be done in about half the normal span, and allow us to get off the venerable RD-180 rocket engine and onto an all-American solution,” he added.
ULA completed in December the preliminary design review of the Vulcan launch vehicle and plans to make a decision on what U.S.-made rocket engine to use as a replacement to RD-180s, Henry reports.
“Sometime close to the end of the year we are going to down-select, and then move into our critical design review and start manufacturing the rocket,” Bruno told Via Satellite.