ULA’s Vulcan Rocket Set for Power Surge with Enhanced RL-10 Engines
The new Vulcan rocket being built by United Launch Alliance (ULA) is about to get a major power boost! Engineers are outfitting its upper stage with two souped-up RL-10 engines that can crank out a whopping 48,000 pounds of thrust.
For context, that’s like strapping almost five Ford F-150 engines together to blast this thing into space! The RL-10s have been trusted workhorses for decades, launching spacecraft since the 1960s. Now ULA is counting on them to give their next-gen Vulcan some serious muscle.
ULA is a joint venture between aerospace giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing, formed in 2006 to handle launches for NASA, defense etc. The Vulcan will replace their old Atlas and Delta rockets, which are headed for retirement soon.
ULA designed the Vulcan from scratch to be a versatile heavy lifter for all kinds of missions. It can be configured with solid rocket boosters to dial the power up or down. The first stage uses methane fuel, which is new for ULA rockets.
Now the real star is the upper stage called Centaur V. It’s an upgraded version of the Centaur III upper stage ULA has flown since the 60s. Those two RL-10 engines will give it nearly 50,000 pounds of oomph to push payloads into space.
The Vulcan is supposed to finally make its first flight this month after delays. Its first mission will be sending a lunar lander called Peregrine to the Moon for Astrobiotic. ULA also has a contract to launch a mega internet satellite constellation soon.
The Vulcan is about to flex some serious muscle thanks to those battle-tested RL-10 engines. When this thing takes flight, those 48,000 pounds of thrust are sure to put on a heck of a show! ULA’s next-gen rocket is gearing up to make some noise and make it rain satellites.