The Vulcan Centaur space rocket which will be the new one “Diamond Tip” From ULA (United Launch Alliance) is several months behind schedule for its first flight. However, it appears that the final date can now be met and is currently set 24th of December from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. This will be the mission that will certify the new carrier for future missions, including those dedicated to the Department of Defense.
Currently, the space rocket is being assembled at the Vertical Integration Facility, including assembling the first stage two boosters with Propellant At the Solid State GEM 63XL (which will provide almost half of the 8.9 kN thrust) in addition to the upper stage Centaur V. At the base of the first stage there is two BE-4 engines which run on liquid methane and oxygen from Blue Origin.
ULA and Vulcan Centaur’s SMART Reuse technology
The mission also plans to launch the Astrobotic commercial lunar lander Peregrine falcon such as NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission, as well as a Celestis payload containing the ashes of the creator of the popular television series Star Trek.
First on board the rocket Mission Certification-1 (Cert-1) Amazon’s two prototype Project Kuiper satellites were also planned. Due to the cumulative delays of Volcanic centaur The US company had decided in recent weeks to launch the two units on board an Atlas V rocket. If the beginning wasn’t the best for this new carrier, ULA It is assumed that in 2024 it will be able to launch several space rockets of this type, while in 2025 it could be possible to launch every two weeks (less than the frequency of SpaceX’s Falcon 9).
The Astrobotic Peregrine lunar lander is awaiting delivery
This applies to the 2024 financial year United Start Alliance 11 national security space launches have also been awarded, but this type of payload can only be launched after the CERT-1 and CERT-2 missions are successfully completed. This carrier will also launch the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser spaceplane in 2024.
Interesting to see Tory Bruno (ULA CEO) showing how the technology is being tested SMART reuse are being continued despite general skepticism about whether they will actually be used one day. As explained earlier, this technology allows you to reuse BE-4 engines thanks to the separation of the same from the first stage after the separation of the stages.
LOFTID’s first small orbital test
As reported by ULA Historically, most of the cost of a first stage was engine data (more than 50%), and therefore restoring this data could bring various economic benefits without having to have a reusable launch vehicle such as Falcon 9 or a fully reusable launch vehicle such as Falcon 9 spaceship needs to be considered. An inflatable heat shield was developed and required together with NASA for re-entry LOFTID which has already been tested in recent months with encouraging results.
New test for LOFTID in full size, but not launched into space
For NASA, the interest is to have an inflatable shield that is light, compact (when deflated), and usable for missions to other planets such as Mars. For ULA Instead, it could be used to return the engines Volcanic centaur. A new test from Models In recent weeks, in anticipation of technical progress, a full mission was carried out, but without an orbital launch. Surely SMART reuse It will not be used for the first launches (and will probably only become operational after 2025), it is still an interesting approach and needs to be evaluated.