United Launch Alliance plans to blast off its new powerful rocket, the Vulcan Centaur, in early May. The launch is already delayed. Its initial target was in Q1 2023. The United Launch Alliance is owned jointly by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co.
According to information gathered from the best news website, on Thursday, Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance, said the company is planning to launch its first flight in May 2023. The launch providers are working hard to blast off Vulcan Centaur, which is one of the several proposed large rockets and the first inaugural rocket this year. This rocket, along with other upcoming rockets, will be used by satellite operators to place their devices in orbit. These innovative rockets will also be used by military and scientific projects and government agencies for exploration.
SpaceX completes major engine tests for the Starship Vehicle
According to executives, SpaceX recently completed major engine tests for its Starship vehicle, which is expected to be placed in orbit soon. Arianespace, a French rocket company, plans to launch the Ariane 6 vehicle from a French Guiana-based European spaceport in Q4. Just like the Vulcan Centaur, these vehicles have also faced delays in their launches.
According to Mr. Bruno, United Launch Alliance decided to keep its inaugural flight in May to ensure that its proposed lunar lander will reach the moon. According to the latest available information, the United Launch Alliance is still validating engines supplied by Blue Origin, a company belonging to Jeff Bezos, to match parameters with those installed on its Vulcan Centaur.
According to a communiqué from Blue Origin, the two engines are being tested. It has supplied them for use in the flight in October 2022. Mr. Bruno said its teams are carefully doing the tests to ensure a successful flight.
National security flights are scheduled for Q4
Astrobotic Technology, a company based in Pittsburgh, has developed the lunar lander on which two prototype satellites of Amazon Inc. for internet services will be flown. The first flight and subsequent flights are being developed to demonstrate the operation of the Vulcan Centaur, according to United Launch Alliance. After proving all the parameters on two flights, United Launch Alliance will use Vulcan Centaur to launch rockets for national security, and one such flight is scheduled for Q4.
The Pentagon considers United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur as its main launch vehicle. However, SpaceX has already ventured into this space. On achieving success with Vulcan Centaur, United Launch Alliance expects to discontinue the use of Atlas V and Delta IV rockets. The company will not use Russian engines in its Vulcan Centaur.
Bookings for Vulcan Centaur
According to the latest news today, United Launch Alliance has already received bookings for seventy missions on its Vulcan Centaur. Amazon would use 38 of these missions to launch its satellites for an Internet business, according to the VP for development at Vulcan Centaur, Mark Peller. The company also said national security launches are also in the pipeline.
The company will configure Vulcan Centaur with different boosters for powering it off the launch pads. The boosters will be fixed to the sides of the launch vehicle. The United Launch Alliance will incorporate changes at a later date to reduce costs and improve performance. The Wet launch redresser for the launch vehicle is still pending.