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May 12, 2018

ULA picks an engine for its next generation rocket — just not the main one

<em>Aerojet’s RL10 engine during a hot-fire test</em>

The United Launch Alliance announced today that it had picked one of the engines it plans to use to power the company’s next generation rocket, called the Vulcan. ULA has decided to go with the RL10, an engine manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, to propel the Vulcan’s upper stage, the top portion of the vehicle that deploys satellites into their final orbits during launch. It’s a big hardware decision for ULA, but the company has yet to make a much more anticipated choice for the Vulcan: which will be the main engine?

The question over the Vulcan’s main engine has loomed over the company ever since it announced plans to develop the rocket in 2014. The move to create a brand new vehicle was borne out of tense geo-political relations with...

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