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Waspie_Dwarf

ULA begins search for new US rocket engine

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ULA begins search for new American rocket engine

United Launch Alliance announced Monday it has signed contracts with multiple U.S. companies to mature next-generation rocket engine concepts that officials say could replace the Atlas 5 booster's Russian-built RD-180 engine by 2019.

The commercial contracts between ULA and prospective U.S. engine builders cover technical feasibility analyses, high-fidelity planning, schedule, cost and technical risk assessments, and cost estimates, ULA said in a statement released Monday.

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ULA details engine initiative, ratchets up SpaceX response

United Launch Alliance, criticized by would-be competitor SpaceX for high costs and reliance on Russian rocket engines, ratcheted up its counter offensive Wednesday, detailing a company initiative to explore potential U.S. engine replacement options and unveiling a new ad campaign to "illuminate the contrast between ULA and SpaceX" and counter "an enormous amount of misinformation."

"The whole tenor of the campaign is to make perfectly clear there's a lot at stake when it comes to successful space launches," Michael Gass, ULA's president and CEO, told reporters during a teleconference. "Literally, lives are at stake.

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Enthusiasm wanes for quick start to new engine program

With the Obama administration, NASA and industry leaders preaching caution -- and no sign Russian rocket engine exports will end -- the rush to replace the Russian RD-180 engine used to power billions of dollars of U.S. military and scientific research satellites into space has cooled in recent weeks.

Bills drawn up in both houses of Congress include funding lines to kick-start development of a new rocket engine, but Congress has not sent a budget bill to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature.

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ULA taps Blue Origin for powerful new rocket engine

United Launch Alliance announced Wednesday it is teaming with Blue Origin, a secretive space company led by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, to develop a new U.S.-made rocket engine that could replace the Russian engine used to power Atlas 5 first stage boosters.

The arrangement comes after building concerns over ULA's reliance on Russian propulsion to loft U.S. national security satellites into space, and ULA's chief executive said Wednesday the choice of Blue Origin as a new engine provider is part of a potential overhaul of the company's Atlas and Delta rocket fleet used to send up spacecraft for the Pentagon, NASA and commercial customers.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne says AR1 engine is best fit for Atlas 5

Aerojet Rocketdyne is pressing ahead with development of a powerful new rocket engine that company officials believe will be an attractive alternative to the Russian-built RD-180 engine that now powers the first stage of United Launch Alliance's workhorse Atlas 5 booster.

Despite a flawless launch record, the RD-180 has come under fire in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, with critics arguing political uncertainty and increasing discord between the United States and Russia could put downstream launches of high-priority national security payloads at risk.

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