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#1 2005-05-02 19:54:53

Ad Astra
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Registered: 2003-02-02
Posts: 584

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Lockheed Martin, Boeing to form United Launch Alliance

So much for the idea of using competition to get a good deal for CEV launches.


Who needs Michael Griffin when you can have Peter Griffin?  Catch "Family Guy" Sunday nights on FOX.

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#2 2005-05-02 20:19:06

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Actually this was mentioned maybe a month ago and I think I mentioned it in the cev thread. Much to the same thoughts but here is another twist in that a SDV keeps all of the shuttle army. So much for lowering cost to space. sad

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#3 2005-05-02 22:26:41

RobertDyck
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

I don't remember reading this before. There was some talk about down-selecting to one providor, but this is the first I heard of a merger. The Shuttle orbiter is serviced by USA and ET is build at Michoud which is managed by Lockheed Martin, so ULA would operate SDV as well as EELV. This is a monopoly. The Falcon by SpaceX hasn't flown yet. Falcon I will only lift 670kg to 200km @ 28° or 580kg to ISS. Falcon V will lift 6,020kg to LEO, 5,450kg to ISS, 1,920kg to GTO, or 1,200kg to escape velocity. These are small, they don't compete with Delta IV or Atlas V. The Pegasus XL by Oribital Sciences can lift 443kg to 185kg @ 28.5°. Again this is small, it doesn't compete. ULA would be a monopoly.

Look at the cost of operating Shuttle, expenses of USA. This demonstrates when these two companies cooperate instead of compete they have no intention of keeping cost down. The article claims the joint venture will result in an unspecified number of layoffs, but I don't believe for a minute it will reduce launch cost. Someone has to challenge this under anti-trust laws.

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#4 2005-05-02 22:38:09

Visionary Explorer
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

This demonstrates when these two companies cooperate instead of compete they have no intention of keeping cost down. The article claims the joint venture will result in an unspecified number of layoffs, but I don't believe for a minute it will reduce launch cost. Someone has to challenge this under anti-trust laws.

That's typical in a merger - costs go up (even though the reasoning for the merger is to make them go down - for the company - not its customers!).

I wonder if an anti-trust suit would work, and who would file it (as in another aerospace company trying to compete?)?

Anyone have any information along those lines?

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#5 2005-05-03 05:55:18

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Here are the posts I made that hinted towards this last month.
Posted: April 11 2005, 07:06
Well it looks like the big leaders are striking out to end the possibility of only a single company maufacturing the CEV in its entirety if a flyoff were held.

March 28, 2005: An industry coalition of space shuttle contractors recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop Space Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle (SDLV) concepts to help meet NASA's future medium and heavy lift needs. Alliant Techsystems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and United Space Alliance, LLC signed the MOU earlier this month to formalize their collaborative relationship developing SDLV concepts. Potential missions for SDLVs would be to carry International Space Station and exploration cargo to low earth orbit, or launch a crew in the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

Industry coalition to develop launch vehicle concepts

An industry coalition of space shuttle contractors recently signed a memorandum of understanding to
develop Space Transportation System-Derived Launch Vehicle concepts to help meet NASA's future
medium and heavy lift needs.

Looks to me that they are trying to keep the shuttle army employeed for developing a SDV.


Posted: April 21 2005, 07:34   
Michoud facility to craft prototype Spaceship will replace shuttle

Sort of wondering about this contract and of why one is given before the flyoff?

NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans will build a prototype of a new astronaut capsule if its operator, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, wins a contract for the work from the space agency late this summer, the plant's manager said Wednesday.

We know which teams are the largest but are there smaller ones also in competition for the flyoff also?

Lockheed is leading one of at least two teams that are competing to build the CEV. The other announced team is led by Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing. The competition to build the rocket that would carry the capsule into space hasn't begun.

NASA managers plan to select two teams by September to build prototype CEVs.

Say what?

Each team would receive a $1 billion contract for the first phase of the potentially lucrative competition. NASA could spend $100 billion over the next decade developing and building the spacecraft.

NASA plans to choose a winner to build the CEV in late 2008 after the prototypes are tested.

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#6 2005-05-03 09:07:26

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

As for an anti trust suit IMO it could not go though due to the fact that they already have a joint business in the united space alliance which does the shuttle refurbishment.

edit:
Here is the page with the united space alliance head count for what we have been calling the army.
Northrop Grumman, Boeing Announce Companies Supporting Crew Exploration Vehicle Team

United Space Alliance - Bringing the Northrop Grumman/Boeing team extensive experience in space operations,  United Space Alliance's 10,000 employees in Florida, Texas and Alabama support NASA's human space flight programs with expertise in space launch and recovery operations; mission planning and control; ground systems and flight hardware processing; space flight training; on-orbit assembly, payload deployment and servicing; rendezvous operations and docking; and complex space systems integration.

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#7 2005-05-03 10:10:06

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

More on how this may all play out for those in the trenches for either company.
Boeing, Lockheed Joining Forces to Launch Rockets

Aircraft firms launch venture

Rocket divisions to be combined Lockheed and Boeing's operation is to be based in Jeffco and employ 3,800 people nationwide.

Rocket ride for Decatur Boeing-Lockheed combination could mean 250 more jobs for local facility

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#8 2005-05-03 10:20:36

RobertDyck
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Looks to me that they are trying to keep the shuttle army employeed for developing a SDV.

If SDV requires as many people as Shuttle, or even a significant proportion, there will be no funds available for spacecraft. NASA won't have anything to put on that launch vehicle. In order to venture beyond LEO, SDV must employ less than 1/10th of the Shuttle people. That means greater than 90% lay-off. However, those people won't be unemployed because those are the very people we need to develop lunar spacecraft, lunar base, Mars spacecraft, etc. I think you're right that Boeing and Lockheed Martin are fighting to prevent that, but by doing so they are fighting to kill VSE.

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#9 2005-05-03 11:17:43

GCNRevenger
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

I would estimate that, considering the additive cost of expendable engines/avionics/etc, that whatever SDV is built would have to be operated for 30% of the payroll as STS needs, for up to six flights a year in order to take no more then 25% of NASA's available $10Bn/yr theoretical disposable income (when ISS/STS are gone). I'd say its risky to trust them to do it, and 90% worth of cuts or reassignments is impossible.

This talk of SDV costing $300M a shot is less and less credible

If NASA is going to use EELV to get to the Moon, they would need mostly heavy-duty 40-50MT class vehicles that only Boeing seems to currently consider, so there wouldn't be that much competition anyway... plus, Delta-IV Medium is too small for CEV, so Lockheed would get those contracts with its Atlas-IV. I don't see this as making a big difference.

Edit: I am wondering... why exactly would Lockheed pitch a vehicle that is double the mass of their competitors? Unless this supposed "propulsion module" is actually the TLI stage, and the "mission module" infact carries the TEI fuel? If that is the case, then that changes things a little.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#10 2005-05-03 12:53:37

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

What bothers most from all the articles that I have read is the cost saving by merging these giants.

will cut the cost of meeting national security and NASA needs for expendable launch vehicles, saving $100-150 million a year,

Did they forget a zero or is there so little profit out of the 90 billion that they already recieve.

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#11 2005-05-03 14:42:16

RobertDyck
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

I've had recent contact with space technology subcontractors. I've worked with a few machining companies that can make the same parts with all the high precision for less than 1/10th the cost. I realize there are engineering and certification expenses, but one component was used in the Apollo program and hasn't changed since the mid-1960s, another was developed in the 1970s. They've had more than enough time to recover development costs. Every time I look at specifics I see price gouging. NASA has carefully hidden the per-launch cost of Shuttle because it is so embarassingly low. If it costs $60M per ET and $25M to refurbish and refuel each RSRM, then that's $110M of expendables. I have the price NASA paid in the mid-1980s for LOX & LH2, that works out to $50,596 for LOX and $5,455,660 for LH2. Based on NASA's 1990 price, N2O4 & MMH cost $9,244. (Didn't you want an SDV without OMS pods anyway?) How much do you think it costs to integrate and operate launch facilities? The overhead cost is high. Those overhead costs have to be slashed. You can't do it at Johnson, astronaut training and mission prep. will always be there. But why does United Space Alliance have 10,000 employees? That doesn't count Michoud or Thiokol's facility.

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#12 2005-05-03 18:52:46

GCNRevenger
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

First off I want to state that I can fully believe that Shuttle was actually, secretly intended to be a make-work project by NASA execs and they fully intended to mark up its operational costs as much as possible without getting canceld to keep as many Apollo engineers employed as possible.

However, I think your blanket statement about "everything NASA does (or will do) is marked up 1,000% etc etc" is silly, and a few small eblematic cases about machined parts does not a doomed agency make... Sure, there will be some markup as it is a government agency (or massive megacontractor), just like most others, but huge markups aren't realistic I don't think... at least if NASA was serious about doing it on budget, instead of maximizing engineer employment.

So, if each ~$900M Shuttle flight requires a grand total of about $120M in expendables, where does that other $780M go? If, lets say, about 1/5-1/4th of that goes to operating JSC's astronaut facilities and will no longer be "charged" to the launch vehicle budget, then $590-625M goes to actually flying Shuttle. If SDV is to fly for no more then $400M a shot, and the cost for hardware is aproximatly $200M each ($30M five-segment boosters, three $15M RS-68, kick stage/etc), that means NASA needs to eliminate about 70% of its engineer payroll.

I don't think they can do it... just let go 7,000+ people? Better to pull the plug entirely if NASA can't bring itself to sufficently draw down the army.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#13 2005-05-03 19:59:54

RobertDyck
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

I calculated ~$750M per launch based on 6 launches per year at 2005 & 2006 budget rate. JSC took $1.2B of Shuttle's budget in 2000, but the budget went up since then. At $4.5B per year for Shuttle less $1.2B for JSC and $120M*6=$720M for expendibles, that leaves $2.58B for fixed overhead costs. Getting SDV down to $300M per launch average for unmanned cargo using the same ET & SRBs would require reducing fixed costs down to $1.08B, which is 41.86% of the current overhead. I think they can do better. Reduce fixed costs to ~$500M so it frees $2B for VSE. After all, SDV won't need any of the orbiter processing facilities. But that's still 20%; if I were to stick to the 10% rule it would mean reducing fixed costs to ~$250M/year. Can that be done?

One simple method is to freeze the design. NASA has had several Shuttle upgrade projects working concurrently continuously since Shuttle entered operation. Just freeze SDV design once it flies the first time, then you don't need most of the engineers. Re-assign engineers to work on spacecraft, not launch vehicles.

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#14 2005-05-03 20:09:08

RobertDyck
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Another thing is re-assigning equipment. Yes, there are those who want to retain their jobs and retain infrastructure. Shuttle-C (my favourite SDV) wouldn't need the Orbiter Processing Building or 747, but you could use those for the mini HL-20 space taxi that I talked about so often. That means splitting residual infrastructure between SDV and space taxi. Is that a cheat to reduce overhead cost of SDV? I also suggested putting a reusable engine and heat shield tiles on the space taxi, although the tiles would be FRCI and DurAFRSI with RCC only on the nose. Can NASA keep the combined annual overhead for Shuttle-C and the space taxi down to $500M?

::Edit:: Appology. This is off topic. This thread is about the ULA monopoly. However, the point is whether ULA would even try to bring costs down to this level.[/color:post_uid0]

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#15 2005-05-03 20:44:34

GCNRevenger
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]I didn't realize quite so much money went to JSC... that just moves it from "impossible" to "very questionable" though, from 70-75% of the payroll to ~60% worth of cuts.

I simply don't trust NASA to make these deep cuts until they at least talk publicly about making them. Eliminating over half the Shuttle workforce would be several thousands of engineers that NASA has fought tooth and nail, including lies and intentional price gouging, to retain.

Especially if NASA had to eliminate staff from the same division... "hey Bob, go train John to do your job, then we'll pick which one of you to lay off" would not work out so well.[/color:post_uid0]


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#16 2005-05-03 21:34:46

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

I simply don't trust NASA to make these deep cuts until they at least talk publicly about making them.[/quote:post_uid0]
Michael Griffin has talked about deep cuts, thousands of employees at specific centers. However, he didn't say where. George W. has mandated cancelling the Shuttle program when ISS construction is complete, and that's his means to free funds for VSE. Are the cuts I'm talking about so great a jump?

Especially if NASA had to eliminate staff from the same division... "hey Bob, go train John to do your job, then we'll pick which one of you to lay off" would not work out so well.[/quote:post_uid0]
I've lost my job so many times I lost track. I was the first person layed off from Beaver Lumber before they closed all stores in major cities, now they have only tiny stores in small towns. Westfair Foods went through mergers so ended up with 3 full-size computer departments, they closed the one in my city and layed everyone off. I worked several contract positions that ended when the project was complete. My latest job ended when the contract ended and the project was near complete. I could have stretched it a little farther, but someone who was my subordinate 20 1/2 years ago when he started his first job as a 19-year-old got promoted to development manager. He tried to micromanage me, take over my project, and claim all my work was crap to justify his promotion. I tried to complete the project despite him but he kept interfering. I could emphasise he only has high school education and didn't recognise the BYTE data type (a basic fundamental of computer science), and claimed code generated by a Microsoft wizzard was crap. Bottom line is he doesn't know MFC, he's not qualified. I told the owner I would only accept a contract extension if I worked from home. He didn't accept that. I know it's tramatic to move to another job, but I've done it many times; if I can live through it they can too. Sometimes, including the last one, I did have to train someone to take over my job. We're talking here about moving engineers from one division of NASA to another, engineering spacecraft instead of launch vehicles. That's not as dramatic as the moves I've lived through.[/color:post_uid0]

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#17 2005-05-04 11:56:30

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]One of the other earlier releases hinting on this: Industry coalition to develop launch vehicle concepts.
But none the less when you factor into the equation that the military has chosen to buy equally from then for there needs. Then you look at profit for either ship they both stand to loss unless they can consolidate there production and engineering.
This does all make sense but if they do it in the shuttle manner then both stand to fail.[/color:post_uid0]

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#18 2005-05-04 13:16:23

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Well this might explain why lockheed's model concepts are in the news.
Griffin: NASA Will Pick Cheapest Option For Boosting CEV

Administrator Michael Griffin said during a speech in Washington May 3 that NASA will pick the cheapest option for launching the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) into orbit, but added that he will not discard the space shuttle's launch stack "lightly."

[/quote:post_uid0]

Well lockheeds are always cheaper, but does that make it the best solution in this case?[/color:post_uid0]

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#19 2005-05-05 12:00:58

publiusr
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From: Alabama
Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 682

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Not quite HL-20--But Lock-Mart has proffered this:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science … 34782.html
http://www.space.com/busines....sa.html

This is LockMart's warmed over OSP--scaled up a bit---perhaps. Griffin looks to support the CEV/SRB combo known as "The Stick," according to last week's Av Week.

ATK may fare well under Griffin:

http://www.atk.com/images_photogallery/ … atives.jpg
http://www.atk.com/Advance....ves.asp

Here is some of Boeings art:
http://boeingmedia.com/images/one.cfm?i … &release=t

Another CEV concept:
http://www.transformspace.com/index.html
Truax may be working either with them or AERA, so the scuttlebutt goes.

And another CEV concept:
http://aftercolumbia.tripod.com/deltasprint/


This new partnership could be a way to kick USA to the curb and have a non-shuttle-derived plan to lobby for--placing them dead against Griffin--who recently said this:

"So as I have said often, tongue in cheek, from the point of view of the cargo, the shuttle is a payload shroud - a rather heavy one. But the intrinsic capability of the stack is quite impressive. It's not quite up to where Saturn V was - but it's close - and it's there. So, I will not give that up lightly and, in fact, can't responsibly do so because, it seems to me, any other solution for getting a hundred metric tons to orbit is going to be more expensive than utilizing efficiently what we, NASA, already own."


Well spoken.[/color:post_uid0]

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#20 2005-05-05 13:36:52

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
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Posts: 6,056

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0][i:post_uid0]"Are the cuts I'm talking about so great a jump?"[/i:post_uid0]

As far as getting the make-work Shuttle program to only partially shut down? Yeah, I think it is. Griffin just saying so doesn't reassure me much, he seems much too infatuated with SDV options and not to have really considerd EELV ones.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The "AltSpace" options for CEV are really a joke... the Kistler rocket is still a half-finished jumble of parts and here they are betting on it already.

Somebody please tell Mr. Griffin that the SDV heavy lifter doesn't actually fly yet. Calling the Space Shuttle a "payload faring" is at best a biased stretch... EELV on the other hand, [i:post_uid0]does[/i:post_uid0] actually fly, and would not involve the accursed Shuttle Army.[/color:post_uid0]


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#21 2005-05-05 15:06:34

publiusr
Member
From: Alabama
Registered: 2005-02-24
Posts: 682

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]"The "AltSpace" options for CEV are really a joke... the Kistler rocket is still a half-finished jumble of parts and here they are betting on it already."

We agree on that at least.[/color:post_uid0]

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#22 2005-05-06 06:00:51

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,567

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0] Teams Bid to Design New Spaceship
going once, going twice, sold to the low ball design? ??? well not quite.
While we do have Lockheeds in the news what of team Boeing?

Details of the second proposal, submitted by a joint partnership of Northrop Grumman and Boeing, were not released. The deadline to submit proposals was Monday.[/quote:post_uid0]

NASA's request for CEV design proposals stipulates that the vessels should be capable of launching on existing expendable boosters, such as Lockheed Martin's Atlas 5 and Boeing's Delta 4. However, studies also are under way to consider using the shuttle's boosters and external tank as a means of delivering the new spaceships into orbit.
[/quote:post_uid0]

So can lockheeds be lofted by Atlas? or are they thinking of SDV?

NASA's plans for CEV development include the award of two design contracts later this year, then selection of a sole contractor to build the vehicle. The agency has $753 million in its budget to spend on the CEV program through Sept. 30, 2006, Braukus said.

[/quote:post_uid0][/color:post_uid0]

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#23 2005-06-21 09:07:50

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,567

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer bullish on Boeing

On May 2, Boeing and Lockheed un-veiled United Launch Alliance, a joint rocket building venture. Through this partnership, Boeing will continue to build its Delta rockets, and Lockheed will continue manufacturing its Atlas rocket fleets.

United is a cost-cutting measure, a way to offer high quality expendable launch vehicles (single use rockets) to the U.S. government. The Air Force uses the Delta and Atlas rockets to launch national security payloads and other satellites into orbit.

Hoping to expand its market, United wants to provide NASA's astronauts with their next-generation ride into space and to the moon.
[/quote:post_uid0]

Well with one alliance for the shuttle and now another for their existing product lines, What is left for the giant but to start lowering its prices.[/color:post_uid0]

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#24 2005-06-21 09:29:42

Palomar
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From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#810541:post_uid5]*Rocket Monopoly?  I'm game. 

I get the Saturn V playing piece!  big_smile

(Sorry...couldn't resist)

--Cindy[/color:post_uid5]


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#25 2005-06-21 10:28:42

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,567

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

[color=#000000:post_uid0]ah shucks, but I wanted the LEM...[/color:post_uid0]

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