Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance, said that the company has redesigned its next-generation Vulcan rocket to meet the requirements of the U.S. Air Force’s latest national security space launch competition, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.
The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in the past week released the final request for proposals for the second phase of its National Security Space Launch program.
ULA made the Vulcan larger than originally planned as the Air Force seeks launch vehicles that could perform more complex missions in the future under the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement.
“Vulcan was purpose built for those requirements, it was a deliberate choice that we made,” Bruno told SpaceNews at the Satellite 2019 conference. “Had we designed our rocket to be optimized for the commercial marketplace, it would have been smaller.”
However, he noted ULA has yet to finalize the system it would bid for LSP.
The Air Force plans to award two contracts in 2020 and to begin launch missions by 2022 under the program.
Interested parties can submit proposals for the program through Aug. 1.
ULA, SpaceX, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman are expected to compete for the launch program.