ULA Promotes Delta IV Heavy for LEO, Lunar Missions

United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy.

United Launch Alliance seems to now making a major push to become one of the rocket transportation options of choice for NASA. The Dacatur Daily reports:

Among the tasks in which ULA believes it could play a valuable role:

  • Building a heavy-lift rocket to lift the crew capsule.
  • A rocket for taking crew to low-Earth orbit or the International Space Station.
  • Use of the Delta IV to launch an Orion crew capsule in missions beyond low-earth orbit.
  • Technological assistance on all aspects of a revised program of manned space flight.

“We think the Delta IV Heavy already is reliable enough,” Sowers said. “It’s being used to launch the flagship missions for the nation’s intelligence community, so no expense has been spared on its reliability. What we would need to do is add a system on there, which we call an emergency detection system, that in the event the rocket malfunctioned it would abort the Orion capsule off so the crew can come home safely.”

ULA is developing the emergency detection system so it would work for either Delta IV or Atlas V, and would work either with a commercial crew capsule or Orion.

“Potentially you could put a Delta IV Heavy over on Pad 39, the current shuttle pads, with a really straightforward modification,” Sowers said.

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