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posted by martyb on Tuesday October 24 2017, @04:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the competition++ dept.

Air Force adds more than $40 million to SpaceX engine contract

The U.S. Air Force has provided SpaceX with an additional $40.7 million to support continued development of the company's Raptor engine.

A Defense Department contract announcement Oct. 19 stated that the Air Force was modifying an existing agreement with SpaceX, originally awarded in January 2016, by providing the company with $40.766 million "for the development of the Raptor rocket propulsion system prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program."

The statement didn't include additional information about the nature of the work other than that it would be completed by the end of April 2018. The work, according to the announcement, would be carried out at NASA's Stennis Space Center, which hosts engine testing for the Raptor, as well as SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California and Los Angeles Air Force Base, home to the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center.

The Raptor engines are one of the components needed for SpaceX's upcoming super heavy-lift launch vehicle now known as the BFR. Falcon Heavy uses Merlin 1D rocket engines.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 24 2017, @01:17PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 24 2017, @01:17PM (#586834)

    I can only find summaries of the contract. It's not clear what the deliverables are.

    The Air Force goal appears to help wean off the RD-180.
    If this results in more/quicker concrete test results then it is probably good.
    If it results in a variant of the engine, the diversion may be good or not depending on what is learned.
    If it results in more, unnecessary paperwork, then you may be correct.

    It would be nice to understand how this adjusts the timing or content of SpaceX's already planned, ongoing development.
    One has to trust the SpaceX is in a position to nudge things away from disruption and towards complementary support.

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday October 24 2017, @05:08PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday October 24 2017, @05:08PM (#586944)

    40 million dollars is also a pretty cheap investment for the Air Force to keep ULA under pressure.