Collins Aerospace Signs $320 Million Contract to Provide Critical Subsystems for NASA’s Orion Spacecraft

Orion and European Service Module orbiting the Moon. (Credit NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (Collins Aerospace PR) – Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), has signed a contract with Lockheed Martin to provide critical subsystems to support production of NASA’s Orion spacecraft fleet for Artemis missions III through VIII.

Valued at $320 million, the systems being provided by Collins Aerospace will play an important role in enabling NASA’s goal of boots on the Moon by 2024, as well as establishing a sustained presence on and around the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars.

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ULA Signs Multiple Contracts for First Stage Propulsion Work

RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)
RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)

Centennial, Colo., June 16, 2014 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) has signed commercial contracts with multiple American companies to investigate next-generation liquid oxygen/hydrocarbon first stage propulsion concepts. In collaboration with ULA, each company will conduct technical feasibility analysis, develop high fidelity plans, identify schedule, cost and technical risks, as well as cost estimates to meet aggressive recurring cost targets.  All concepts will support a first launch by 2019.

“As the nation’s steward of the launch industrial base and the only company certified to launch our nation’s most critical missions, it is incumbent upon ULA to bring forward the best solutions to preserve that capability for the future,” said Michael Gass, ULA president and CEO.

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Court Rejects ULA Motion to Dismiss Orbital Lawsuit Over Rocket Engines

RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)
RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema has rejected motions from ULA and engine supplier RD-Amross to dismiss an anti-trust lawsuit brought against them by Orbital Sciences Corporation, Space News reports.

Orbital wants Russian RD-180 engines to replace the AJ-26 engines the company uses in its new Antares launch vehicle. However, ULA has exclusive use of the RD-180 engines for its Atlas V rocket through a supplier agreement with RD-Amross, which is a joint venture between United Technologies Corp. and NPO Energomash of Russia.

ULA and RD-Amross asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that Orbital has viable alternatives to the AJ-26 engines and that RD-180s cannot be sold to foreign parties without the approval of the Russian government. Thus, Orbital could not prove the $500 to $1.5 million in damages it is seeking over ULA’s monopoly.

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DARPA’s Vulcan Engine Aims for Mach 6+

DARPA’s Hypersonic Vulcan Engine Meld
Defense Industry Daily

It might not be a Vulcan mind-meld, but it’s pretty close. The Department of Defense’s technology brain trust, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has given 4 contractors the go-ahead to develop the advanced Vulcan combination engine system for hypersonic flight. The 8-month first phase features awards to: Alliant TechSystems, General Electric, Rolls Royce, and United Technologies.

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UTC to Shed Nearly 12,000 Jobs in 2009

United Technologies To Lay Off Nearly 12,000 Workers
Aero-News.Net

The conglomerate that owns such notable aerospace companies as Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, Rocketdyne and Hamilton Sundstrand will cut 5 percent of its global workforce this year, the latest victim of a staggeringly awful global economy.

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