United Launch Alliance has finally been stung into action by competitive forces from the likes of SpaceX and Orbital to produce innovation in technology and cost. It announced that its new low cost system called Vulcan, which will be free of Russian components will be ready for first launch in 2019.
But the most interesting feature of the story is that first stage engines that ULA will rely on do NOT come from industrial stalwarts, but instead are provides by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Unlike the PR-addicted self-publicist Musk, Bezos has kept his Blue Origin plans veiled in secrecy. The announcement that his firm is now at the core of the US market leader’s competitive response will have Musk quivering. Not least because Bezos has genuinely deep pockets – his vast wealth makes Musk look decidedly small time.