11 thoughts on “Vulcan”

  1. The relationship between the U.S. and Russia is at a particularly contentious point.

    I’ve seen this angle on some other unrelated articles. It blows a hole in the whole Russian collusion conspiracy theory because if there really was collusion, then there would not be the threat of Russian retaliation. What goes unsaid is that the Democrats and the DNC media are being so hysterical that it could damage relations with other countries. It is their actions which might generate a response. Why that is left hanging but never examined is a real mystery.

    Why did you decide to modify the pad versus getting a second pad for the rocket?

    He gave a great answer but it points to not expecting a particularly large flight rate. SpaceX has pads that can do double duty but they are also building more pads to meet demand.

  2. Pretty softball interview. Talked about his Twitter account, but not about how Vulcan is going to be obsolete before it even flies.

  3. Question for the peanut gallery: do you think ULA has already made the Vulcan engine decision? Cheers.

        1. I think it’s pretty obvious ULA has picked the BE-4. Bruno said Vulcan is appreciably wider than Atlas V. That wouldn’t have to be true unless Vulcan is burning methane instead of RP-1.

          The last-possible-minute announcement is, I’m sure, intended to keep AJR’s extensive portfolio of bought Congresscritters from having time to organize effective opposition.

          Thus far, Bruno’s now-stock answer “soon” has been stretched to more than a year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it stretch at least an additional six months.

          For what it’s worth, I suspect BE-4 engine testing is actually a lot further along than Blue Origin has publicly acknowledged. Blue and ULA have an obvious confluence of interests in “poor-mouthing” about BE-4’s development pace.

          1. Did you see the snippets of daytime tests of BE-4 that they showed during the New Shepard webcast? It was new (to me) footage. Looked great.

  4. Hmmm:

    The other thing that’s happening is the pad modifications. We intend to fly Vulcan and Atlas off the same launch pad and they’re going to overlap for a number of years, so we needed to have a launch pad that could go back and forth, because the rockets are different sizes. The diameters are significantly different and Vulcan is also a little bit longer, so we are modifying our launch tower and launch pad so platforms can go up and down, because normally they’re fixed. You design your rocket and then you build a pad to fit your rocket, that’s how it’s always been done.

    Was the decision to share the pad known? No mention of adding support for LCH4, although I suppose that would be something that Tory would stay away from.

    1. This is the first I’ve seen the pad-sharing thing explicitly declared, but it has been implicit for a long time. When ULA announced Vulcan, it said it intended to reduce its pad infrastructure, eventually, to just two. Those two were going to be the Atlas V pads at Canaveral and Vandenberg. All the Delta II and IV stuff was going to go. The overlapping timeline in which Atlas V was phased out as Vulcan was ramped up was also laid out. As the saying goes, do the math.

      ULA’s pair of Delta II pads at Canaveral, 17A and 17B, are already shut down. 2W, ULA’s Delta II pad at Vandy, will also be shut down after the last Delta II flies this fall. Firefly is already trying to get dibs on that one for its Alpha and Beta vehicles.

      The Delta IV pads at Canaveral (37B) and Vandy (6) will, one presumes, be kept until the last Delta IV Heavy mission that launches from each has flown. I’m sure each will have at least one interested party waiting to take it over as soon as ULA lets it go. SpaceX, Blue Origin and NGO-ATK might all be vying for ULA’s cast-offs.

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