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Espace: trois firmes US fourniront des prototypes de lanceurs commerciaux

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Comment baisser les coûts de lancement de satellites? Avec des “Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle” (en français des “lanceurs non récupérables évolués).

Mercredi, l’USAF a annoncé qu’elle avait retenu trois firmes dans le cadre du programme EELV:
– Blue Origin, avec son lanceur New Glenn,
– l’ex Orbital ATK, qui a été absorbé en juin par Northrop Grumman et est devenu Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. Le lanceur est l’OmegA,
– United Launch Alliance (ULA), et son lanceur Vulcan Centaur.

Surprise: SpaceX est écarté.

D’ici à 2024, l’USAF donnera 500 millions à Blue Origin, 792 millions à Northrop Grumman et 967 millios à ULA. Mais seulement deux des trois firmes pourront en profiter jusqu’en 2023 puisque l’une sera évincée en 2020, au terme de la phase 2 du programme.

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Voici les trois avis:

United Launch Services, Centennial, Colorado, has been awarded a $967,000,000 other-transaction agreement for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. This award is part of a portfolio of three agreements that leverage commercial launch solutions in order to have at least two domestic, commercial launch service providers that meet National Security Space requirements, including the launch of the heaviest and most complex payloads. This agreement requires shared cost investment for the development of the Vulcan Centaur launch system. Work will be performed in Centennial, Colorado; and Decatur, Alabama, with launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2025. This award is the result of a full and open competition. This agreement will be incrementally funded with fiscal 2018 through 2024 research, development, test and evaluation funds totaling a maximum of $967,000,000. Fiscal 2018 funds in the amount of $109,000,000 are being obligated at the time of Voir l’article en entier

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