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Aerojet Rocketdyne Seeks More U.S. Air Force Funding for AR1 Rocket Engine

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-02-20 05:25:25

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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