HomeSpace FlightVulcan Centaur rocket: The space workhorse of tomorrow

Vulcan Centaur rocket: The space workhorse of tomorrow

The Vulcan Centaur rocket — due to launch in late 2022 — is a new methane-fueled rocket from one of America’s most experienced space launch operators, United Launch Alliance (ULA). The Vulcan Centaur rocket will join ULA’s well-established workhorses Atlas V and Delta IV in launching payloads into space.  

As with its predecessors, this will be able to launch satellites into a variety of orbits, including geosynchronous ones, for NASA and other U.S. government customers. But it’s hoped that the new rocket will be able to do this more cheaply, thanks to an initiative the company refers to as SMART — for “Sensible, Modular, Autonomous Return Technology”. This allows the most expensive parts of the rocket to be recovered after launch and refurbished for reuse.

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