Space Force assigns engineering deal for ULA Vulcan rocket certification


The Millennium Engineering and Integration won a $13.2 million award from the United States Space Force on February 19 for operations in aid of the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket certification. MEI received an estimated $55 million deal in the year 2018 for engineering facilities linked to the certification of dual newly built launch vehicles, Vulcan of ULA, as well as OmegA of Northrop Grumman. After not succeeding in winning a procurement deal for the National Security Space Launch, the latter was cancelled last year.

In a release, Colonel Robert Bongiovi, who serves as the director in charge of Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise, stated the $13.2 million contracts is for “sustained systems engineering as well as integration services for the Vulcan launch system certification.” The key contractors working for SMC’s Launch Enterprise on certification of new launch service provider entrants are MEI, Aerospace Corporation, and SAIC. The latest BE4 engine supplied by Blue Origin, the current task order given to MEI, will endorse Vulcan certification.

This week, ULA confirmed that it has started evaluating the core stage of Vulcan at the Cape Canaveral, Florida launch facility. As ULA expects delivery of the two flight configuration engines, the pathfinder tanking trial booster was equipped with a pair of the developmental BE4 engines.

Underneath the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 deal it secured last year along with SpaceX, ULA confronts a 2022 target to deploy the first national security flight. For two Phase 2 flights scheduled for the financial year 2022, ULA secured a $337 million deal on August 7. In December, the ULA Chief Executive Tory Bruno informed reporters that Vulcan is scheduled to be prepared for its maiden flight by late 2021. To get accredited for national defense launches, Vulcan has to perform two effective flights in relation to the engineering evaluations.

A lunar lander meant for Astrobotic, a NASA contractor who will carry payloads to the moon, is the very first expected mission. The second flight is the cargo mission of the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser to the ISS (International Space Station). For national safety certification, usually, three flights are needed. Still, Bruno stated Vulcan would be authorized after two flights since ULA agreed to offer complete access to its Air Force vehicle.

With its latest, next-generation rocket, the ULA is changing the prospect of the space launch, making it cheaper, available, and commercialized. In terms of reliability, cost, weight, and capacity, Vulcan Centaur is superior and offers a solution for the essential need of the country: efficient access to space.
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