United Launch Alliance (ULA) is manufacturing our first flight article of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, a next-generation launch vehicle purpose-built to support the needs of U.S. national security by lifting the most critical space assets for the country. The inaugural launch is later this year.
The cornerstone for Vulcan Centaur was successfully captured Aug. 7 when the U.S. Space Force (USSF) named the rocket as the No. 1 offer or in the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 procurement. This multi-year competitive contract represents 60 percent of critical U.S. national security launches over a five-year period. It is expected that Vulcan Centaur will launch twenty to thirty missions for the USSF during this timeframe.
Vulcan Centaur’s innovative technology transforms the future of launch, meeting the challenging requirements now demanded by an expanding spectrum of missions that are essential to the nation’s defense – from low Earth orbit to high-energy orbits.
Those NSSL launches add to the eight commercial missions already booked to fly on Vulcan Centaur starting with the maiden launch that will send Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander to the moon. Sierra Nevada Corp. has contracted for seven Vulcan Centaurs to launch its Dream Chaser reusable space plane on cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station.
The rocket is founded in the experience of the Atlas and Delta programs, with innovations that lower cost and improve its capabilities for commercial, civil, and national security markets. Vulcan Centaur offers customers unprecedented flexibility in a single system. The single-core Vulcan Centaur has more lifting capacity than the Delta IV Heavy with significantly reduced cost and streamlined processes.
This new rocket can be built in less than half the time as its predecessors and can be launched at a much higher tempo. Carrying forward ULA’s technology know-how, time tested operations, and our culture of customer-first mission success,