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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday February 20 2018, @05:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-am-altering-the-deal... dept.

Aerojet Rocketdyne wants the U.S. Air Force to contribute more funding for the development of its AR1 rocket engine. But that may be a hard sell when the mostly privately funded BE-4 from Blue Origin is close to being ready to fly:

In recent years, Aerojet has sought funding from the US Air Force to design and build the AR1, which has approximately 20 percent more thrust than a space shuttle main engine. The Air Force, in turn, has pledged as much as $536 million in development costs provided that Aerojet puts its own skin in the game—about one-third of research and development expenses.

According to a new report in Space News, Aerojet is now saying that even this modest investment is too much, and the company is seeking to reduce its share of the development costs from one-third to one-sixth. "As we look to the next phase of this contract, we are working with the Air Force on a smart and equitable cost-share," Aerojet spokesman Steve Warren told the publication. "We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019."

According to the report, the Air Force is not inclined to renegotiate the agreement. The Air Force's hesitation to increase its investment is probably because the military may not really need the AR1 rocket engine any more due to the emergence of Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Related: Blue Origin Will Build its Rocket Engine in Alabama
NASA Opens Door to Possibly Lowering SLS Cost Using Blue Origin's Engines
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Tuesday February 20 2018, @07:20PM (6 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 20 2018, @07:20PM (#640783) Journal

    How does this story miss the Elephant on the Launch pad.?

    may not really need the AR1 rocket engine any more due to the emergence of Blue Origin,

    They want to only pay 1/6th of development costs, while still masquerading as private enterprise.
    I guess if you only have one customer, you may be tempted to just say fuggit, let them pay for it.

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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday February 20 2018, @07:46PM (4 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday February 20 2018, @07:46PM (#640798)

    I guess if you only have one customer, you may be tempted to just say fuggit, let them pay for it.

    It works great when your customer is used to being used this way, and doesn't have any other suppliers to choose from, until a new competitor shows up....

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday February 20 2018, @08:16PM (2 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 20 2018, @08:16PM (#640816) Journal

      Like Comcast until Google Fiber shows up. And maybe someday SpaceX Starlink.

      --
      The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors him. Prov 14:31
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday February 20 2018, @10:16PM (1 child)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 20 2018, @10:16PM (#640894) Journal

        Starlink has nothing to do with Air Force launches.

        But SpaceX could provide everything the AirForce needs - The gorilla on the launch pad I referred to.

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        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday February 20 2018, @10:55PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 20 2018, @10:55PM (#640917) Journal

          I'm using ISP competition as an analogy to rocket launch services competition.

          Just as SpaceX is a disrupter in launch services, Google Fiber was a disrupter for the Comcasts / Verizons of the world. And StarLink might also be so one day.

          --
          The one who oppresses the poor person insults his Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors him. Prov 14:31
    • (Score: 2) by legont on Wednesday February 21 2018, @03:13AM

      by legont (4179) on Wednesday February 21 2018, @03:13AM (#641006)

      So why don't they get themselves more customers? I am sure Chinese government would be interested. Perhaps even Russians would've liked to compare notes. In fact, let's have an open bid - who pays more - including anonymous investors.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @12:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21 2018, @12:35AM (#640957)

    and having had family who worked there, they have not been a worthwhile company in almost 40 years.

    The area surrounding their test sites are one of the few no-development zones in the area, thanks to toxic waste (McClellan is the other big one, but the military was able to punt that to private industry by selling it off, despite being what should've been considered a historic base given both its capabilities, service record, and firsts.)

    The current hot mess of Aerojet+Rocketdyne deserves to die given it's mediocre performance since the APOLLO missions.