Officials at Orbital ATK and ULA breathed sighs of relief on Thursday as the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to exempt rocket engines from a sanctions bill targeting Iran and Russia.
The amendment to the sanctions measure exempted RD-180 engines used by ULA in the first stage of its Atlas V booster and the RD-181 engines Orbital ATK uses in the first stage of its Antares launch vehicle. Both engines are produced by NPO Energomash of Russia.
Video Caption: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Liftoff was at 11:11 a.m. EDT. The Orbital ATK CRS-7 Cygnus spacecraft on a commercial resupply services mission to deliver 7,600 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (CASIS PR)– The Orbital ATK Cygnus vehicle launched on its seventh cargo resupply mission (CRS-7) to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 18 aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V vehicle, carrying more than 40 ISS U.S. National Laboratory sponsored investigations.
The ISS U.S. National Laboratory is chartered to facilitate research in the microgravity environment that benefits life on Earth. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is leading the effort in partnership with NASA, industry, other government organizations, and academia to manage and promote the best use of the ISS National Lab.
By Bob Granath NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida
The International Space Station serves as the world’s leading orbital laboratory where crews conduct cutting-edge research and technology development. A crucial resupply line of spacecraft keeps work going that will enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing toward the ULA Atlas V launch carrying the OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft for Orbital ATK and NASA.
The mission is set to lift off on a ULA Atlas V rocket on Tuesday, April 18 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The April 18 launch window is 11:11-11:41 a.m. EDT. Live programming will begin at 10 a.m. EDT; webcast available at www.ulalaunch.com
Today’s L-2 forecast shows a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.
Launch Forecast Summary:
Overall probability of violating weather constraints: 10%
Primary concerns: Cumulus Clouds
Overall probability of violating weather constraints for 24 hour delay: 20%
ULA has cut the price of its least expensive launch vehicle, the Atlas V, by more than one third.
“We’re seeing that price is even more important than it had been in the past,” Tory Bruno, chief executive of United Launch Alliance, or ULA, said during an interview at the U.S. Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
“We’re dropping the cost of Atlas almost every day. Atlas is now down more than a third in its cost,” Bruno said.
As of December 2016, a baseline Atlas 5 rocket launch was selling for about $109 million, though satellite operators can make up at least half that cost by getting more favorable insurance rates and other factors, including an on-time launch, ULA has said.
In contrast, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, lists the base price of a Falcon 9 rocket launch on its website at $62 million.
In what is likely a surprise to no one, United Launch Alliance’s CEO said this week the company is leaning toward selecting Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine in the first stage of its new Vulcan rocket — providing upcoming engine tests go well.
That would leave rival Aerojet Rocketdyne and its AR1 engine without a booster to fly on.
In an interview during the 33rd Space Symposium here, Tory Bruno said that tests of the BE-4 engine, scheduled to begin “very soon” at Blue Origin’s test site in West Texas, are the last major hurdle the engine must clear before ULA decides to use it on Vulcan. (more…)
United Launch Alliance (ULA) plans to lay off 48 employees that work for its operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. ULA launches Atlas V and Delta IV rockets from the coastal base.
“United Launch Alliance continues to transform our company to provide cost-effective solutions for our customers, while we maintain our focus on mission success,” spokeswoman Jessica Rye said in a written statement.
“As we announced last year, ULA would have two reductions in force, one in 2016, which was completed, and one in 2017 to accomplish our business goals. We hope to accomplish the majority of the 2017 reductions through voluntary layoffs….
The jobs will end June 1, according to the letter, and include both union and non-union employees. Layoffs are expected to be permanent.
Affected employees currently hold assorted jobs, including technicians and engineers.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., April 3, 2017 (ULA PR) – The launch of the ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft for Orbital ATK and NASA is scheduled for April 18.
While completing testing for a ground support hydraulic condition discovered during prelaunch testing, a different issue with a booster hydraulic line was observed. The team has developed a plan to resolve the issue and is moving forward with launch vehicle processing. The Atlas V and Cygnus spacecraft remain secure.
The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2017 Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST)
2016 Launch Events
Space launch activity worldwide is carried out by the civil, military, and commercial sectors. This section summarizes U.S. and international orbital launch activities for calendar year 2016, including launches licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST). Countries and jurisdictions worldwide that possess functional and operating indigenous launch industries are the United States, Russia, China, European Union, India, Japan, Israel, Iran, North Korea, and South Korea. Several other countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Indonesia, are developing launch vehicle technologies.
The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2017
Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST)
State of the Payload Industry
Space industry companies and organizations worldwide, sometimes the same as launch vehicle manufacturers but also those specifically dedicated to spacecraft manufacturing, produce these spacecraft. Commercially launched payloads are typically used for the following mission types:
Commercial communications satellites;
Commercial remote sensing or Earth observation satellites;
Commercial crew and cargo missions, including on-orbit vehicles and platforms;
Technology test and demonstration missions, usually new types of payloads undergoing test or used to test new launch vehicle technology; and
Other commercially launched payloads, usually satellites launched for various purposes by governments of countries not having indigenous orbital launch capability.
WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has selected United Launch Services LLC (ULS) of Centennial, Colorado, to provide launch services for the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Launch is currently targeted for 2021 on an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.,, March 1, 2017 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 March 1 at 9:50 a.m. PST. Designated NROL-79, the mission is in support of national defense. (more…)