The U.S. Air Force selected Aerojet Rocketdyne and United Launch Alliance (ULA) for a public-private partnership to develop an American-made rocket propulsion system.
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The Air Force decision — coupled with a large internal investment in the AR1 engine—is a major step forward in ensuring that the U.S. has a domestically-built rocket engine to replace the Russian - built RD-180 engines currently used to launch many Pentagon payloads into orbit.
The total agreement is valued at $804 million with the U.S. Air Force investing two-thirds of the funding required to complete development of the AR1 engine by 2019.
The work is expected to be completed no later than December 31, 2019. The Air Force intends to initially obligate $115.3 million with Aerojet Rocketdyne and ULA contributing $57.7 million.
The total potential government investment, including all options, is $536 million. The total potential investment by Aerojet Rocketdyne and its partners, including all options, is $268 million.
Because of each company's strong commitment to ending reliance of the Russian RD-180 engine on the Atlas V, Aerojet Rocketdyne and ULA have been investing in AR1 ahead of a public-private partnership agreement.
The U.S. Air Force, The Aerospace Corporation, NASA and other government and industry experts have been kept apprised of progress on the AR1 since its inception.
Most recently, Aerojet Rocketdyne held a major design review for the AR1 program with all stakeholders. The AR1 passed with flying colors, allowing the team to proceed with design implementation. ■
A very strong low pressure system currently just offshore of San Francisco Bay will continue to bring high winds, heavy rain, and heavy mountain snow for California and adjacent areas of the Southwest through tonight and Wednesday as the latest in a series of atmospheric rivers impacts the West.