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#126 2015-01-24 15:34:25

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

You do realize that this outcome happened precisely because that court refused to dismiss Spacex's lawsuit.  Rather than go to court and give the lawyers a chunk out of their budgets,  USAF settled,  which means they have to act more expeditiously on the certifications,  and more fairly on the contracting.  Or get sued again. 

They (USAF) didn't want to settle or do anything.  That's why this has dragged on for so long.  ULA is where USAF retirees go for civilian careers,  not Spacex.  Giving work to Spacex cuts into potential second retirement benefits when you go to ULA after retiring from USAF.  So far,  Spacex has no place for USAF retirees.  Boeing and Lockheed have had places for military retirees,  for 7 decades now,  when you consider those two gobbled up everybody else that there used to be. 

Monopoly actually cuts both ways,  sometimes.   But only sometimes,  and lawyers are usually involved when it does. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#127 2015-01-24 21:59:19

Impaler
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From: South Hill, Virginia
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Posts: 286

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Long run we need to outlaw this kind of hiring/retiring/golden-parachute of people in purchasing positions within the Military and government broadly.  It is simply so blatantly corrupting (same applies for lawmakers going into lobbying).  The excessive consolidation within the Aerospace industry is a contributing factor as it makes it that much easier for a Boeing or LM more leverage over the retiring individual "you got no one else to go too, thus we own you", but that just means Boeing just needs a less generous offer, the same corruption would be possible with the retiree in the position to solicit the most lucrative offer from a wide field of companies.  Now of course Boeing has a vastly more sleazy corporate culture then the Air-force (or just about any other Corporation in America), so this shift in power is certainly BAD, it's just that consolidation alone is not the root of the problem in my opinion.

This is one of the areas where Democrats have been trying, admittedly with little success to attack the roots of corruption in government, Republicans and Tea-party types seem to like to attack the branches but aren't willing to tell their military/corporate supporters that they can not engage in these kinds of corrupting retirement practices and without that their will be no resolution.

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#128 2015-03-11 21:24:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

The ULA is looking into its future Insider Interview: ULA’s Tory Bruno talks Next Generation Launch System

Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA ) is preparing to move away from established, and aging, launch vehicles such as the Delta II (which is currently set to conduct its last launch in 2017), Atlas V and Delta IV. Instead, the joint venture, between aerospace titans Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, has stated that it will produce the Next Generation Launch System or “NGLS” booster. This new launch vehicle will be different than the company’s current offerings.

Bruno assumed the post of Chief Executive Officer and President of ULA on Aug. 12, 2014. Not long before Bruno’s ascension, the company encountered controversy surrounding its use of the Russian-produced RD-180 rocket engine. Since that time not only has ULA announced that it would be developing a new launch vehicle – but that it will be moving away from the RD-180 and will instead use Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine.

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#129 2015-03-13 18:20:58

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Why Aerojet Will Win The Race To Replace Russian Rocket Engines

"The U.S. Air Force needs a new rocket engine, and fast" is a bit of an understatement. The National Defense Authorization Act for this year directs the Pentagon to cease using Russian engines in 2019.

The Air Force depends on a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin called United Launch Alliance (ULA) to loft all its payloads into orbit, because it has been the only company whose launch vehicles were certified as safe for conducting such missions.  ULA offers a legacy Boeing vehicle called Delta and a legacy Lockheed vehicle called Atlas, with the latter vehicle being employed more often for military missions because the kerosene used as its first-stage propellant does not require cryogenic handling whereas the highly reactive hydrogen used in the Delta must be super-cooled.  In other words, Delta is more complicated to use, and because it is used less frequently, more expensive.

The end result of having shuttle and then having none after the first accident was to eggs all in one basket which is what they have now with the ULA again.

The Air Force will probably certify SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle – using the in-house Merlin engine to power its first stage — as suitable for military missions sometime this spring.  But Falcon 9 doesn’t have the lift to get the heaviest national-security payloads (such as spy satellites) into desired orbits, so it is only a partial solution to the Air Force’s needs.

Pass out the bandaids.....

So the race is on to see who can develop an affordable, flexible alternative to the Russian-powered Atlas booster. With Space X its all about the Falcon 9 heavy and for the ULA is about the Blue Origin all-new engine powered by liquid natural gas which the ULA claim is that it can fly by 2019. Then there is Aerojet Rocketdyne developing a 500,000-pound thrust engine it calls the AR-1 which is from the famous F1 of saturn heritage.

Unlike the hydrogen propellant used on Delta and the liquid natural gas used on the Blue Origin engine, Aerojet’s kerosene fuel can be stored at ambient temperatures.  Because the AR-1 engine will be so similar to the oxygen-rich, staged-combustion technology used on the Russian engines, it can fit into the back end of existing Atlas launch vehicles — meaning there is no need to develop a new launch vehicle that must be separately certified, which is what ULA will have to do once its methane-based engine technology is in hand.  Aerojet has a four-year plan for building the new engine that will result in an actual flight on an Atlas vehicle with a payload in 2019, the deadline currently specified in law.

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#130 2015-03-22 12:50:55

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Boeing appears to be ditchings is product line in favor of Lockheeds Atlas V. There are also other changes coming with Lockheed as wqell still working to make Dreamchaser for cargo and now the ULA wants to make a next generation vehicle...

Reusable rocket elements will likely be part of the Next Generation Launch System (NGLS) being unveiled by United Launch Alliance

•The methane/oxygen powered 550,000 lb. thrust BE-4 developed by Blue Origin for replacement of the single Russian RD-180 in the Atlas V. Twin BE-4s will be used in the Atlas.
•A new Aerojet Rocketdyne liquid propellant engine called the AR-1 being developed as a backup to the BE-4 as well as other potential propulsion needs. It will have somewhat less thrust than a BE-4. NASA has contributed about $50 million for this engine development to help reinvigorate the sagging U. S. liquid rocket propulsion development capability.
•ULA is also leading development of the new high energy upper stage to replace the RL-10 oxygen/hydrogen line pioneered in the 1960s.


“We are going to make space so much more accessible than it ever has been before,” he said. The current cost of an Atlas-V launch is $164 million, while a Delta-IV Heavy costs $389 million.

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#131 2015-04-07 21:06:25

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Recently the Blue Origin's BE-3 rocket engine under went its acceptance testing, generating its maximum 110,000-lbs of thrust, at the company’s facility in West Texas.The company will be flying an unmanned suborbital tests in its New Shepard spacecraft later in 2015. The shakedown cruises are aimed at testing the performance and reusability of the commercial launch system's BE-3 rocket engine, which Blue Origin has cleared for suborbital flight.

blue-origin-new-shepard-diagram.jpg?1428446444

The New Shepard spacecraft is designed to launch a crew capsule carrying at least three astronauts or passengers on suborbital flights that reach over 62 miles (100 kilometers) in altitude — the boundary of space. The reusuability of a vertical launch and vertical landing for New Shepard, using the BE-3 rocket engine which is capable of throttling up to 110,000 pounds of thrust, as well as back down to 20,000 pounds of thrust.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Blue Origin are developing the BE-4 engine to power ULA's new rocket, the Next-Generation Launch Vehicle with the first tests of a BE-4 rocket engine beginning in 2016 and should be complete by 2017.

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#132 2015-04-08 22:20:06

kbd512
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

The beginning and end of the problem is the impetus for change and the nature of our political structures.

For quite some time, ULA was the only company to go to for launch services here in America.  We now have a set of fledgling companies that are cost competitive with ULA and capable of delivering services.  Purchasing proclivities won't change until there is an impetus to change.  We should start by cutting the budget of the Air Force.  USAF would then need to decide whether or not they want/need silly little things like GPS.  If you want/need that capability, then issue contracts to companies who can provide services at sane prices.

The government is well aware that ULA has broken the law pertaining to cost increases but refuses to do anything about it.  Both political parties are part of the problem and neither has made any serious attempt to rectify the situation.  In an ideal world, USAF would realize that they have far less expensive options for launch services, select a company capable of providing services at a reasonable cost, and use the money to fund the purchase of other items like the F-35.

With respect to government procurement practices, there has not been any such thing as a level playing field in living memory.  Our revolving door political / corporate lobbying cabal actively attempts to influence purchasing decisions with bribes, better known as campaign contributions and employment, and it's so naked that only willfully ignorant people wouldn't notice it.  Whether strictly legal or not, it's inherently corrupt.  As such, the procurement process for major purchases now has little or nothing to do with how cost competitive a good or service is.

We can complain about this until the cows come home, but apart from booting both parties and electing independent candidates, I don't see this changing.  Even if we elect independent candidates, I don't think it's possible to have good stewards of our money until such time as all corporate contributions to campaigns are outlawed, that law is actually enforced, and nobody who was a lobbyist can ever become a politician and vice versa.

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#133 2015-07-08 21:56:25

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

BE-4 Engine Remains Front Runner for ULA’s Next Rocket

Blue Origin continues to have the upper hand in a competition with Aerojet Rocketdyne to build a new engine for United Launch Alliance’s next-generation rocket, ULA chief executive Tory Bruno said June 27.
Testifying before the U.S. House Armed Services committee strategic forces subcommittee, Bruno said Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine development program is 16 months ahead of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1 effort.
Congress mandated last year that the Defense Department develop a kerosene-fueled main rocket engine to replace the Russian RD-180, which powers the main stage of the ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket, by 2019. The Atlas 5 launches a majority of the Defense Department’s national security satellites.
ULA announced in September that its first choice for a replacement is the BE-4, a liquid-natural-gas fueled engine that cannot be used on the Atlas 5 as currently designed. ULA expects to make a final decision on which engine to pursue in late 2016. Unlike the AR1, which is designed to fit into the Atlas 5, the BE-4 would require ULA to develop a new rocket essentially an Atlas 5 with a new first stage called Vulcan.

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#134 2015-07-11 17:33:04

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Atlas V set to resume Cape launch manifest

Article goes on to talk about all flights from all rocket types that will be launching in the next month including military launches....

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#135 2015-09-14 20:56:03

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Space x maybe shaking up the big companies but its the rumor of aerojet that was all the buzz recently....

That would change alot with how ula would do business....but its ULA and Blue Origin Production Agreement Expands Development of BE-4 Engine

Blue Origin’s fourth-generation liquid rocket engine uses an oxygen-rich staged combustion (ORSC) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid oxygen (LOx) to produce 550,000 lb. of thrust. (The third-generation BE-3 engine used to power Blue Origin’s New Shephard system uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to produce 110,000 lb. of thrust). LNG- a viable form of methane- in the BE-4 engine replaces more costly and inefficient rocket fuels like kerosene. This liquefied rocket fuel can be used to pressure a rocket’s propellant tanks through a process called autogenous pressurization. This way of pressurizing the propellant tanks inside a rocket decreases the need for other expensive and complicated pressurization systems. Liquefied natural gas does not leave behind soot byproducts (like kerosene does) making it easier for engine reuse.

Two BE-4 engines will power each ULA Vulcan booster to produce a powerful 1,100,000-lbf thrust at lift-off. There will be two steps to the Vulcan Rocket with step one planned for an initial launch in 2019 and step two in 2023.

Vulcan will consist of a single booster stage, the Centaur second stage and a payload fairing of either 4- or 5- meters. It will have up to four solid rocket boosters (SRBs) to intensify lift-off in the 4-meter configuration. The Vulcan 5-meter configuration allows up to six SRBs to assist the rocket at lift-off. Step one will surpass the power of the Atlas V and serve the mission needs of most customers.

Vulcan, in the second step, will introduce the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) and exceed capabilities of any other competing rocket. ACES will replace the Centaur second stage and achieve the launch capability of ULA’s Delta IV Heavy.

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#136 2016-04-10 17:32:03

SpaceNut
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Why do business always look at reducing the number of emplyees as the solution to getting costs down...as we have discussed before there goes the art of making rockets as most are at retirement age....

United Launch Alliance is offering buyouts to employees to cut as much as 10 percent of its work force nationwide, or 375 jobs, by late this year as it continues to restructures and cut costs.

The Centennial-based rocket company is the largest contractor for U.S. government space missions.

"As ULA continues our transformation, we have determined that a reduction in force is necessary," said spokeswoman Jessica Rye, in a statement. "ULA’s intention is to accomplish most, if not all of the reductions via voluntary separation. We anticipate up to 375 employees separating from ULA across all five locations."

It has local headquarters, Florida and California launch facilities and manufacturing sites in Harlingen, Texas and Decatur, Alabama.

The company employs 3,700 people nationwide. About 1,700 of them work locally, primarily in engineering and ULA’s administrative functions.

ULA cuts 375 jobs as new commercial space-race heats up

Centennial maker of rocket launchers to shed 10% of workforce as it tries to stay competitive as SpaceX and other startups join space race

ULA has spent the past year making changes and finding ways to cut costs so it's more streamlined and less reliant on government contracts. Last June, it cut 12 positions, or 30 percent of its executive team.

A month later, it announced it would put a small engineering team in Pueblo to bring some of its rocket testing in house. The propulsion testing facility will help the company's existing Atlas and Delta rockets and its new Vulcan launch system, which will include reusable booster engines.

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#137 2016-06-17 20:19:55

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

House Passes FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill Cutting EELV Funds

I am sure some of the back lash is due to the Russian engines bad American engines good mentality.....

I guess the new moto will be to do more with less.....

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#138 2016-06-18 07:50:06

Tom Kalbfus
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Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

SpaceNut wrote:

Why do business always look at reducing the number of emplyees as the solution to getting costs down...as we have discussed before there goes the art of making rockets as most are at retirement age....

Because salaries are the entire cost when you look at every level of production when getting the rockets produced and launched, whether it be mining the raw materials, manufacturing, producing rocket fuel, or actually launching the vehicles. The more we can eliminate salaries and wages paid along the way, the more we can reduce costs!

United Launch Alliance is offering buyouts to employees to cut as much as 10 percent of its work force nationwide, or 375 jobs, by late this year as it continues to restructures and cut costs.

The Centennial-based rocket company is the largest contractor for U.S. government space missions.

"As ULA continues our transformation, we have determined that a reduction in force is necessary," said spokeswoman Jessica Rye, in a statement. "ULA’s intention is to accomplish most, if not all of the reductions via voluntary separation. We anticipate up to 375 employees separating from ULA across all five locations."

It has local headquarters, Florida and California launch facilities and manufacturing sites in Harlingen, Texas and Decatur, Alabama.

The company employs 3,700 people nationwide. About 1,700 of them work locally, primarily in engineering and ULA’s administrative functions.

ULA cuts 375 jobs as new commercial space-race heats up

Centennial maker of rocket launchers to shed 10% of workforce as it tries to stay competitive as SpaceX and other startups join space race

ULA has spent the past year making changes and finding ways to cut costs so it's more streamlined and less reliant on government contracts. Last June, it cut 12 positions, or 30 percent of its executive team.

A month later, it announced it would put a small engineering team in Pueblo to bring some of its rocket testing in house. The propulsion testing facility will help the company's existing Atlas and Delta rockets and its new Vulcan launch system, which will include reusable booster engines.

Last edited by Tom Kalbfus (2016-06-18 07:50:29)

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#139 2016-06-18 12:07:06

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

yes the old saying doing more with less never works when trying to reduce operational cost.....you must analize the waste that creates the increased costs by looking time management cycles.....

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#140 2016-06-18 17:23:18

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
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Posts: 4,103
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

The biggest cost ticket item in most engineering programs is salaries and wages.  There's no arguing that.  Things have changed greatly from the 18th and 19th centuries,  when materials were the cost driver. 

If you are the manager type who believes (1) engineers and technicians are like grapes:  all alike and cheaper when they're younger and fresher,  and (2) there's no such thing as art (critical experience stuff never written down),  then the very first thing you do when faced by cost pressure is cut people,  and then overwork the ones left.  And you never use the word "overwork",  you always say "increased productivity".  (Nothing but a damned buzz word!)

If on the other hand you are a manager type who actually knows that both of those assertions are false,  then you try to retain your people and cut something else first instead.  Really good military officers know something similar:  your command is first and foremost your people.  Save them first.  In point of fact,  there is no fundamental difference. 

Unfortunately,  good managers and good military officers have been minorities since the 1960's.  They're a positively-endangered species now. 

My dad taught me there are only 3 things that a manager manages:  money,  things,  and people.  He taught me that,  of those three items,  it is the people that are unique.  They create the money and the things.  Only people have feelings and motivations,  which you must understand and take into account,  even if fundamentally unquantifiable.  Take care of your people,  and you have done 90% of your job.  To that lesson from my dad,  I would only add that the complicated part is managing those three items interactively as a function of time. 

I began working professionally as an engineer well over 40 years ago.  In that time I have seen a lot of managers.  Not 5% of them were worth the price of the 12 gauge buckshot round it would have taken to kill them at a single shot.  But those 5% were real jewels,  and their groups were the most successful,  by far.  I took those lessons from them and my dad to heart,  and managed like that myself,  when it was my turn.  My groups always made everybody else competing with us look utterly incompetent,  too,  both technically and cost-effectively. 

So,  IMHO,  cutting jobs as the first response to cost pressure is the most egregious,  asininely-stupid,  and unethical thing imaginable to do.  Yet that is what 95+% of today's managers do.  I despise them.

GW

"been there and done that;  know what I am talking about"

Last edited by GW Johnson (2016-06-18 17:33:01)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#141 2016-06-19 18:13:58

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 3,772

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

SpaceNut wrote:

yes the old saying doing more with less never works when trying to reduce operational cost.....you must analize the waste that creates the increased costs by looking time management cycles.....

Let's not "analize" anything related to rockets.  Sorry, couldn't resist. smile

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#142 2016-06-19 18:30:32

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Dam keyboard....and not proof reading.....for spelling....
but you got the point as GW summed it up in....

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#143 2016-06-20 09:27:39

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 4,103
Website

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

After reading posts 141 and 142,  I just cannot resist....

When I first went to work at what was then Rocketdyne Solid Propulsion in McGregor,  Texas,  what we built was mostly missile propulsion.  Sidewinder,  Sparrow/Shrike,  Harm,  Phoenix,  AMRAAM,  and the like. 

A lot of us used the name "Mother Sprocket's rectum rockets" for our product lines.  That was because most air-to-air's hit you from the rear. 

It's just too appropriate!!!  Don't you think?

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#144 2016-06-20 16:29:54

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,929

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Funny and Appropiate but none of the bean counting managers were on the ride or it would have been a 2 for 1 reaming.....

I have been through that bean counting , right sizing, or down sizing crap and it does not work......

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#145 2016-06-21 20:16:10

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,929

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Started searching for the topic that held information on the Coalition for Space and once seeing the topics found that the main players in the coalition are those in Lockheed and Boeing for starters....

Reading page 1 I found that I needed to fix the shifting and artifacts so I have some homework to do to keep the topic going smoothly....

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration Issues Policy Paper to Guide Incoming President and Congress

The source for the link indicated that it was a rehash of the last report and little has changed for the pork funding approach that continues into even today....

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#146 2017-09-06 16:28:04

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,929

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

You guessed it Russian RD-180 rocket engines good now and US parliamentarians and industry officials have expected when calling on the Russian engine phase-out after Crimea rejoined Russia after a referendum in 2014.
  Pentagon Will Have to Rely on Russian Rocket Engines Until Mid-2020s

Atlas V carrier rockets with RD-180 will be used through 2024 or 2025, according to the Pentagon's rocket provider United Launch Alliance cited by the newspaper. The new US-build engine is reportedly expected to be fully tested by 2019 for the replacement rocket booster Vulcan to be certified for operation by 2022 or by 2023, the outlet added citing the United Launch.

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#147 2017-09-24 18:41:30

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,929

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

The dinosaurs are still gobbling up the smaller ones to become even bigger as Northrop Grumman to Buy Orbital ATK for $7.8 Billion amid a rise in consolidation in the aerospace industry.

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#148 2017-11-13 20:54:11

SpaceNut
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#149 2017-11-14 10:11:00

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,912

Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

Although there would be gnashing of teeth ands wailing heard from the Boeing and Lockheed Martin board rooms, the DOD should expand use of the very reliable Falcon 9 system and the nearly ready Falcon Heavy. NO reliance on Russian built engines. Period.

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#150 2017-11-14 17:11:55

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Rocket Monopoly - United Launch Alliance

ULA was an attempt to reduce costs for military launch by reducing prts to a subset that would be used accross the board but that is not the reality it just reduced the rockets for each in Boeing and Lockheed. The Russian engine garbage came after with the Next generation ship is to take the place of both product lines as its being design to take off the products that ULA currently produces for the military use.

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