Lockheed-Boeing may get rocket deal in May

Lockheed-Boeing may get rocket deal in May

A Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing Co. joint venture may reach a deal to sell the U.S. government a bulk order of medium– and heavy-lift rockets next quarter, according to a company official.

A joint venture between the two contractors is “in the midst“of negotiating a five-year agreement with U.S. government officials for at least three dozen booster cores to launch military and spy satellites, according to Robert Cleave, president of commercial launch services at Lockheed Martin. A booster core is the main component of a rocket.

The Pentagon has already made the acquisition decision and a deal may come in “the second quarter of this year,” possibly as early as May, Cleave said Tuesday after a panel discussion at a satellite conference in Washington. The parties are in the process of negotiating the terms and conditions, he said.


United Launch Alliance LLC, based in Centennial, Colorado, is the government’s sole provider of Atlas and Delta rockets under an Air Force program called Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. The firm is a joint venture of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed and Chicago-based Boeing.

Smaller companies such as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX and headed by billionaire Elon Musk, are vying for a slice of the military market.

The Defense Department last year announced plans to end the Lockheed-Boeing launch monopoly due to rising launch costs. The Pentagon may open as many as 14 missions in the program to potential competitors such as SpaceX.

SpaceX in December won a seat on a separate Air Force contract potentially valued at $900 million to launch two satellites in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The work is designed in part to help it become certified to carry national-security payloads.

The company is making progress toward that goal, said Barry Matsumori, senior vice president of commercial sales and business development at SpaceX. He declined to say when it expects to receive military certification.

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Better watch Lockheed on this one.

The US Air Force should design its own rockets, mainly so we can develop the technology to get beyond using rockets as vehicles to launch supplies and people into space. They are incredibly inefficient, unreliable, and dangerous even 7 decades after the V-2. If aircraft had been this crappy 7 decades into their development you’d only be able to see one in a museum today.

Jesus. You tight the strap on your tinfoil hat too tight this morning?

sferrin! I actually missed you. Feels like forever since I’ve seen you comment.

With all the cuts coming in, why but more very expensive outsourced items. I would use sequesture to eliminate thes rockets as well as the F35 program. Leave them om a possible recall system for when the economy gets better.

Social security is under constant threat but we can afford nonsense like this?

There you go again fast mover! Why doesn’t the Navy take over space launch vehicles! They would certainly do it for less now that the Miami is headed for the scrap yard and the LCS procurement has basically been cut in half because those tin cans just can’t get the job done!

Here is a chart (http://​i30​.tinypic​.com/​2​d​c​f​h​9​5​.​gif) with confidence intervals for 25 years of data collected by NASA on rockets launched between 1980 and 2005. Pretty damn sad. If it were a chart for aircraft, it would need a logarithmic scale to show any difference between the reliability of various aircraft. With a scale like this chart has, every airplane would have an apparent reliability of 1 with confidence intervals so small they would show up as a line.

How would that work? Who in the Air Force would design such a rocket? And why would that be better?

Besides, they paid Boeing and Lockheed to design the current vehicles in the mid to late 90’s, and have paid for some mods here and there ever since.

Who designs Boeing’s rockets? Who designs Lockheed’s rockets? Everything is “design by committee” these days. The USAF can hire the same people. Hell, they can hire people who have actually designed rockets before. They did that very thing once before when they hired Werner Von Braun to design our first generation of ballistic missiles. He, of course, went on to design moon rockets for NASA, another government agency. You remember those days, right? Back when we could actually put a man on the moon. That’s before we had the dumbasses at Rockwell design the space shuttle — the rocket that kept our “manned space exploration” effort stuck in low earth orbit for 30 years. And hell, those were the good old days. Now we have to rent rides on ex-Soviet Union rockets to send a man as far as low earth orbit. Who designed those? Oh yeah, Von Braun’s buddies that didn’t make it to the West.

“Nonsense” like a space program?

Ah, so you’d hire.… the same people. Just rebadge them to the AF. Surely that would make everything much better. Wait a second, didn’t the AF and/or NASA write at the very least the specs for all the stuff they bought? If they didn’t get what you consider to be the best possible vehicles, then who is to blame?

Zer Furher vould be proud!, half of Von Braun’s “crowd” who worked on V-2’s at Peenemunde should have been put on trial as war criminals. They used slave labor at that site and basically worked people to death. But it is what it is when it comes to what our government does.

You should re-read my answer, Troll. Goodbye.

Yeah what did that bastard think he was doing building our manned space exploration program from scratch? He should be put to death instantly for making this country a one time leader in space exploration and missile technology. He should be some no name idiot on the internet, then he’d be such a zero no one would care about whether he lived or died.

We certainly would be better off with a better launch system, but as far as I can tell it would be in the realm of DARPA. Do we have technically credible spacelift alternatives to chemical rockets which are ready for R&D prime-time? Not even as concepts, so far as I can tell.

One of the best ideas I’ve ever heard of is summarized in a Boeing patent: EP0264030 A2. Boeing used to have some really top notch guys working for them in those days.

When Navy ran its own space satellite program they used a “delivery-in-orbit” concept. No payment if it didn’t work. Navy was insured by contractor for 80% of payload and a free ride. Contractor took the risk, just like they’re supposed to. Took only one-tenth the military types to “manage” it. Of course, the Air Force hated it.

BTW, the booster is not the expensive part. The boosted payload is.

Here’s the number of the US Patent: US4802639

Putting our space program in the hands of the defense contractors has been a disaster. These days we have to beg rides on Russian rockets. If it was left to the contractors we would have a space program consisting of little more than bottle rockets.

Looks like some kind of SpacePlane that launches a space shuttle (perhaps artistic license).

Reminds me of SpaceX’s dual aircraft system?

An incremental improvement on the Shuttle… cool, and worth pursuing, but hardly the stuff to put the 30th Launch Group out of business. In terms of putting mass into orbit we’re still using the equivalent of vacuum tubes, and what we really need are transistors. SpaceX et. al. are giving us smaller vacuum tubes.

Note that I don’t know what we could do to shift the paradigm, I’m just pointing out the need. An incremental decrease in the cost to put something in orbit isn’t going to cut it.

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