A joint venture between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp will conduct the final design review for its new flagship Vulcan rocket within months, it said on Wednesday, as the aerospace company heads for a showdown with Elon Musk's SpaceX and others in the launch services market.
The final design review is a crucial milestone as the company, United Launch Alliance (ULA), tries to move into full production ahead of a first flight in spring 2021 after slipping from its initial 2019 timetable.
"The design is nearly fully mature," ULA systems test engineer Dane Drefke told Reuters during a tour of Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
[...] ULA has started cutting and building hardware and has begun structural and pressure testing at its Decatur, Alabama factory. Engineers were also modifying the Florida launch pad and tower to accommodate Vulcan.
Previously: SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s [soylentnews.org]
Blue Origin Wins Contract to Supply United Launch Alliance With BE-4 Rocket Engines [soylentnews.org]
The Military Chooses Which Rockets It Wants Built for the Next Decade [soylentnews.org]