ULA’s Vulcan: The Public Has Spoken & So Has Paul Allen

Artist's conception of Vulcan rocket. (Credit; ULA)
Artist’s conception of Vulcan rocket. (Credit; ULA)

Paul Allen is not amused that ULA has named its new launch vehicle Vulcan, but the company says its all cool.

“Vulcan is a trademark of Vulcan Inc. and we have informed ULA of our trademark rights,” Chuck Beames, president of Vulcan Aerospace, a division of Paul Allen-backed Vulcan Inc., told Reuters. “Paul Allen and Vulcan were early leaders within space exploration with the launch of SpaceShipOne more than a decade ago.”

The name, which was determined by a public vote, was cleared by ULA’s legal department prior to being offered as a ballot choice.

ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye is confident the company took all necessary steps to use the name.

“We have done our due diligence regarding the legal right to use the name Vulcan,” she said via e-mail. ” ULA is committed to taking every reasonable step to avoid any confusion with other entities using this name and we are confident we can do so.”

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  • therealdmt

    The Vulcan rocket, not by Vulcan Aerospace. Not confusing at all really, is it?

  • Larry J

    The solution is easy – Paul Allen can buy ULA and force them to change the name of their new rocket.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Since Vulcan Aerospace is such a household name.

  • Michael J. Listner

    Agreed, which is why this smacks of manufactured outrage for the free PR. No better way to get media, social media and the anti-ULA crowd buzzing then to steal some of ULA’s thunder. Silly really.

  • tdperk

    Why would anyone be pro-ULA? That’s like being pro-tapeworm.

  • Michael J. Listner

    Look at that. I say “silly” and I get the response above.

  • tdperk

    If you are silly enough to think Vulcan Aerospace doesn’t have a good trademark infringement case, you might also be silly enough to want to support the cost-plus business model that had kept access to LEO at at least $6,000.00/lb for 30 years longer than the technology required.

  • Michael J. Listner

    Says the screaming teenager.

  • Oh my, aren’t you defensive lately. What have you got to defend? Your practice?

  • tdperk

    Says the 40 some year old engineer with the well thumbed copy of Sutton.
    Do you even know which author I speak of?
    I could believe you have never done so much as a static structural analysis of a simple truss.

  • Michael J. Listner

    Don’t know, don’t care. An engineer isn’t a lawyer and even then I defer to an IP lawyer.

  • Michael J. Listner

    Thomas, if anything I am on the offense.

  • tdperk

    Sorry, that joke’s to cheap for me.

  • Michael J. Listner

    This is where I revert to the venerable *insert eye-roll here”

  • Terry Rawnsley

    It’s always so much fun to read the comments here when intelligent, professional people start acting like 7th grade girls arguing over whether vampires or werewolves are sexier. I just think it’s nice that we have more than one company producing launch vehicles.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Does Allen’s company make a vehicle called “Vulcan?” If not, there is little likelihood of confusion. I will yield to a real IP lawyer but my understanding of trademark infringement is that the infringing mark must have the possibility of creating confusion serious enough to damage Vulcan Aerospace’s sales of a similar product.

  • Well maybe today you got your wish. But in the future I would suggest more practice, because you are dealing with some experienced old timers here as well as the occasional smug newbies like yourself.

  • Snofru Chufu

    Elon Musk @elonmusk

    Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival.

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    dude, you beat me to the punch.

  • Hug Doug

    Sad. But it was a beautiful launch!

  • Michael J. Listner

    It’s not my job to do a static structual analysis of a simple truss. It is my job to tell the engineer doing the analysis what will happen if he screws up and to sue the engineer if he does. So let’s not turn this into a p-ss–g contest. I am sure you know how to do your job, but I damn well know how to mine.

  • Hug Doug
  • Snofru Chufu

    Thanks, as it looks the target was missed only by about 20 meter, but with wrong velocity vectoring. Is there any idea about potential cause?

  • Larry J

    It’s way too soon to know why it was descending too fast. They’ll need to recover and analyze the data and video for some time to determine why this landing failed.

    Engineers will often tell you they learn more from failures than from successes. In one sense, these are expensive lessons. However, the stage had finished its mission at separation. Other than the cost of operating the barge, this landing attempt cost them almost nothing. In any other launch, the stage has zero value after separation.

    This attempt was close but no cigar. SpaceX will analyze the data, determine the causes, come up with modifications, and try again soon. Lather-rinse-repeat until they succeed or determine the idea just isn’t going to work. Ultimately, I think they’ll succeed soon. Then, they’ll have to analyze the stage and determine what it’ll cost to refurbish it for another flight. No one has ever done this before, so no one knows if it’ll be economically viable.

  • Michael J. Listner

    They got the cargo off the pad into orbit; that is the important part.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Just so no one confuses it with the Vulkan P-1000 missile the Russian builds 🙂

    http://www.deagel.com/Anti-Ship-Missiles/Vulkan_a002362001.aspx

    Or the Russian’s proposed Vulcan heavy lifter

    http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/vulkan.htm

    Then of course you have the Vulcain Engine used on the Ariane V

    http://www.astronautix.com/fam/vulcain.htm

    And you have to ask, are really that limited number of options for names for rockets…