Author Topic: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process  (Read 3996 times)

Offline gongora

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The current version of the Senate bill has language saying that money for support of Delta IV should no longer come out of the Air Force budget after D-IV Medium is retired if NRO is the only one using the Heavy version.  (As with all budget related items, who knows what will actually be signed into law at the end of this process.)

Quote
Limitation on use of funds for Delta IV launch vehicle (sec.
1604)
The committee recommends a provision that would prohibit the
Air Force from obligating funds to maintain infrastructure, system
engineering, critical skills, base and range support, depreciation, or
sustainment commodities for the Delta IV launch vehicle unless
the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional defense
committees that the Air Force plans to launch a satellite procured
by the Air Force on a Delta IV launch vehicle within 3 years of that
certification.
The committee understands that while the Air Force no longer
has plans to utilize the Delta IV launch vehicle, the National Reconnaissance
Office (NRO) will rely on the Delta IV to meet its
heavy lift requirements for the foreseeable future. While the committee
advocated for the Delta IV launch vehicle to eliminate its
reliance on the Atlas V, the Air Force has insisted that it no longer
intends to utilize the Delta IV. Given that the Air Force no longer
requires the Delta IV, the committee believes that the Air Force
should not be responsible for the significant costs associated with
maintaining the capability for the NRO.
The committee is concerned that with the decision to phase out
the Delta IV, the Air Force and the NRO have both underestimated
the cost and technical risk in replacing the unique heavy lift capability
required to meet NRO requirements.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #1 on: 07/12/2017 09:51 AM »
What the NRO wants, the NRO gets... but now they have to pay for it.
We'll see how long that lasts.
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Offline Rummy

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #2 on: 07/12/2017 03:22 PM »
Not sure this does anything. The NRO already pays for its missions.

Offline Brovane

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #3 on: 07/12/2017 08:07 PM »
Not sure this does anything. The NRO already pays for its missions.

The D-IVH missions for the NRO would have to pay the full cost of maintaining the D-IV fixed costs.  As the launch rate goes down for D-IV (And ELC goes away) you have fewer launches to spread those fixed costs out. Previously those fixed costs have been shared with the USAF, and now the NRO will be responsible for paying those fixed costs. 
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #4 on: 07/12/2017 11:13 PM »
Not sure this does anything. The NRO already pays for its missions.

The D-IVH missions for the NRO would have to pay the full cost of maintaining the D-IV fixed costs.  As the launch rate goes down for D-IV (And ELC goes away) you have fewer launches to spread those fixed costs out. Previously those fixed costs have been shared with the USAF, and now the NRO will be responsible for paying those fixed costs.

Above it was quoted:
Quote
...the Air Force should not be responsible for the significant costs associated with
maintaining the capability
for the NRO.

I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents -- with the requisite set of upgrades like a larger fairing and vertical integration -- will be quite worth funding as a single FH flight replacing DH will more than pay for these modifications.
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Offline okan170

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #5 on: 07/13/2017 01:27 AM »
I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents -- with the requisite set of upgrades like a larger fairing and vertical integration -- will be quite worth funding as a single FH flight replacing DH will more than pay for these modifications.

Yep, nothing matters but cost.  To heck with it everything else, we can save money!!!

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #6 on: 07/13/2017 03:02 AM »
I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents -- with the requisite set of upgrades like a larger fairing and vertical integration -- will be quite worth funding as a single FH flight replacing DH will more than pay for these modifications.

Yep, nothing matters but cost.  To heck with it everything else, we can save money!!!

I'd be surprised if this change increased the chances of Falcon Heavy taking over for Delta IV Heavy before it's planned retirement - I would think the pipeline for payloads for Delta IV Heavy is already fairly well determined.

Even more so I think those that define NRO & DOD payloads are already looking forward to when Vulcan is supposed to come online, and when Falcon Heavy should be well proven. If there is to be a change, that's when I would expect it to happen. Maybe not immediately, as ULA has institutional knowledge and capabilities that are hard to replace, but I think lower cost launch costs will encourage them to make changes.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Jim

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #7 on: 07/13/2017 11:14 AM »

I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents --

Wrong on both accounts. 

Offline Star One

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #8 on: 07/13/2017 11:27 AM »
Not sure this does anything. The NRO already pays for its missions.

The D-IVH missions for the NRO would have to pay the full cost of maintaining the D-IV fixed costs.  As the launch rate goes down for D-IV (And ELC goes away) you have fewer launches to spread those fixed costs out. Previously those fixed costs have been shared with the USAF, and now the NRO will be responsible for paying those fixed costs.

Above it was quoted:
Quote
...the Air Force should not be responsible for the significant costs associated with
maintaining the capability
for the NRO.

I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents -- with the requisite set of upgrades like a larger fairing and vertical integration -- will be quite worth funding as a single FH flight replacing DH will more than pay for these modifications.

Cost is not the bottom line imperative for the NRO that you seem to think it is.

Offline woods170

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #9 on: 07/13/2017 05:38 PM »

I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents --

Wrong on both accounts. 

You are being a bit premature with that judgement about FH Jim. In fact, both you and AncientU are wrong about FH. Given that it hasn't flown yet, let alone with any NRO payload, there is no telling just how "expensive" or "cheap" it will be compared to Delta IV Heavy.
« Last Edit: 07/13/2017 05:38 PM by woods170 »

Offline incoming

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #10 on: 07/21/2017 06:34 PM »

I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents --

Wrong on both accounts. 

You are being a bit premature with that judgement about FH Jim. In fact, both you and AncientU are wrong about FH. Given that it hasn't flown yet, let alone with any NRO payload, there is no telling just how "expensive" or "cheap" it will be compared to Delta IV Heavy.

I'm not so sure after what I heard Elon say at the ISS conference.  He plainly said that Falcon Heavy was much harder than they ever thought it would be, and talked about all of the mods that were required (such as beefing up the core) beyond just "strapping three cores together." 

Put that with the fact that SpaceX has never argued against the NRO booking those out-year missions on Delta IV.
 They've never waived their arms around saying they should be able to compete for them with Falcon Heavy (at least not that I've ever seen).  With so much money on the line why not? The only reason I can think of is that SpaceX doesn't actually want to fly those missions with Falcon Heavy, or maybe they can't and it isn't practical to mod Falcon Heavy to do so.   

It seems to me at least one likely outcome of that language is getting the NRO to think really, really hard about the requirements their missions are placing on launch vehicles that drive so much capability beyond what is needed for nearly all other commercial and gov't missions, and figure out if they have to cover the full cost of those requirements whether they should rethink their approach. 


Offline Rummy

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #11 on: 09/11/2017 05:01 PM »

I suspect items such as "Common Avionics", a pair of launch complexes (East and West ranges), and whatever other 'incidentals' that added to the $1B per Delta Heavy flight mentioned by CEO Bruno will be too much for NRO to stomach.  The bargain the FH presents --

Wrong on both accounts. 

You are being a bit premature with that judgement about FH Jim. In fact, both you and AncientU are wrong about FH. Given that it hasn't flown yet, let alone with any NRO payload, there is no telling just how "expensive" or "cheap" it will be compared to Delta IV Heavy.

I'm not so sure after what I heard Elon say at the ISS conference.  He plainly said that Falcon Heavy was much harder than they ever thought it would be, and talked about all of the mods that were required (such as beefing up the core) beyond just "strapping three cores together." 

Put that with the fact that SpaceX has never argued against the NRO booking those out-year missions on Delta IV.
 They've never waived their arms around saying they should be able to compete for them with Falcon Heavy (at least not that I've ever seen).  With so much money on the line why not? The only reason I can think of is that SpaceX doesn't actually want to fly those missions with Falcon Heavy, or maybe they can't and it isn't practical to mod Falcon Heavy to do so.   

It seems to me at least one likely outcome of that language is getting the NRO to think really, really hard about the requirements their missions are placing on launch vehicles that drive so much capability beyond what is needed for nearly all other commercial and gov't missions, and figure out if they have to cover the full cost of those requirements whether they should rethink their approach.

One of the fundamental aspects of the Air Force's near term investment and procurement strategy is about finding a way to meet the NRO's requirements more affordably than the Delta IV Heavy.

Offline gongora

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #12 on: 11/10/2017 02:52 AM »
Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 2810
Quote
JOINT EXPLANATORY STATEMENT OF THE COMMITTEE OF
CONFERENCE

Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle modernization and sustainment
of assured access to space (sec. 1605)

 The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1615) that
would prohibit the Secretary of Defense from obligating or
expending funds authorized by this Act or otherwise made
available for fiscal year 2018 for research, development, test,
and evaluation, Air Force, for the Evolved Expendable Launch
Vehicle (EELV) program for any use other than the activities
specified by this Act. This provision would not affect or
prohibit the Secretary from procuring launch services of EELV
launch systems.
 The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.
 The Senate recedes with an amendment that would limit the
obligation or expenditure of funds for carrying out the EELV
program to: (a) the development of a domestic rocket propulsion
system to replace non-allied space launch engines; (b) the
development of the necessary interfaces to, or the integration
of, such domestic rocket propulsion system with an existing or
planned launch vehicle; or (c) the development of capabilities
necessary to enable existing or planned commercially available
space launch vehicles or infrastructure that are primarily for
national security space missions to meet assured access to space
requirements. The amendment would terminate the authority to
develop a domestic rocket propulsion system and to develop the
necessary interfaces of a domestic rocket propulsion system once
the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional
defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a
domestic rocket engine has occurred.

Launch support and infrastructure modernization (sec. 1609)
 The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1606)
that would direct the Secretary of Defense to carry out a
program to modernize space launch infrastructure and improve
space launch activities, to include processing and launch of
national security space vehicles, in the Eastern and Western
Test and Launch Ranges.
 The House amendment contained no similar provision.
 The House recedes with a technical amendment.

Limitation on use of funds for Delta IV launch vehicle (sec.
1611)

 The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1604)
that would prohibit the Air Force from obligating funds to
maintain infrastructure, system engineering, critical skills,
base and range support, depreciation, or sustainment commodities
for the Delta IV launch vehicle unless the Secretary of the Air
Force certifies to the congressional defense committees that the
Air Force plans to launch a satellite procured by the Air Force
on a Delta IV launch vehicle within 3 years of that
certification.
 The House bill contained no similar provision.
 The House recedes with a technical amendment.

Quote
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018
CONFERENCE REPORT
TO ACCOMPANY
H.R. 2810

1125
SEC. 1605. EVOLVED EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHICLE MOD-
2 ERNIZATION AND SUSTAINMENT OF ASSURED
3 ACCESS TO SPACE.

4 (a) DEVELOPMENT.—
5 (1) EVOLVED EXPENDABLE LAUNCH VEHI-
6 CLE.—Using funds described in paragraph (3), the
7 Secretary of Defense may only obligate or expend
8 funds to carry out the evolved expendable launch ve-
9 hicle program to—
10 (A) develop a domestic rocket propulsion
11 system to replace non-allied space launch en-
12 gines;
13 (B) develop the necessary interfaces to, or
14 integration of, such domestic rocket propulsion
15 system with an existing or planned launch vehi-
16 cle; and
17 (C) develop capabilities necessary to enable
18 existing or planned commercially available space
19 launch vehicles or infrastructure that are pri-
20 marily for national security space missions to
21 meet the assured access to space requirements
22 pursuant to section 2273 of title 10, United
23 States Code.
24 (2) PROHIBITION.—Except as provided in this
25 section, none of the funds described in paragraph
1126
1 (3) shall be obligated or expended for the evolved ex-
2 pendable launch vehicle program.
3 (3) FUNDS DESCRIBED.—The funds described
4 in this paragraph are the funds authorized to be ap-
5 propriated by this Act or otherwise made available
6 for fiscal year 2018 for research, development, test,
7 and evaluation, Air Force, for the evolved expend-
8 able launch vehicle program.
9 (4) TERMINATION.—The authority to carry out
10 subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) shall
11 terminate on the date on which the Secretary of the
12 Air Force certifies to the congressional defense com-
13 mittees that a successful full-scale test of a domestic
14 rocket engine has occurred.
15 (b) OTHER AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section
16 shall affect or prohibit the Secretary from procuring
17 launch services of evolved expendable launch vehicle
18 launch systems, including with respect to any associated
19 operation and maintenance of capabilities and infrastruc-
20 ture relating to such systems.
21 (c) NOTIFICATION.—Not later than 30 days before
22 any date on which the Secretary publishes a draft or final
23 request for proposals, or obligates funds, for the develop-
24 ment under subsection (a)(1), the Secretary shall notify
25 the congressional defense committees of such proposed
1127
1 draft or final request for proposals or proposed obligation,
2 as the case may be. If such proposed draft or final request
3 for proposals or proposed obligation relates to intelligence
4 requirements, the Secretary shall also notify the Perma-
5 nent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of
6 Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence
7 of the Senate.
8 (d) ASSESSMENT.—Not later than 120 days after the
9 date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in coordi-
10 nation with the Director of Cost Assessment and Program
11 Evaluation, shall submit to the congressional defense com-
12 mittees, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
13 of the House of Representatives, and the Select Committee
14 on Intelligence of the Senate a report containing an as-
15 sessment of the most cost-effective method to meet the as-
16 sured access to space requirements pursuant to section
17 2273 of title 10, United States Code, with respect to each
18 of the following periods:
19 (1) The five-year period beginning on the date
20 of the report.
21 (2) The 10-year period beginning on the date of
22 the report.
23 (3) The period consisting of the full lifecycle of
24 the evolved expendable launch vehicle program.
1128
1 (e) ROCKET PROPULSION SYSTEM DEFINED.—In
2 this section, the term ‘‘rocket propulsion system’’ means,
3 with respect to the development authorized by subsection
4 (a)(1), a main booster, first-stage rocket engine (including
5 such an engine using kerosene or methane-based or other
6 propellant) or motor. The term does not include a launch
7 vehicle, an upper stage, a strap-on motor, or related infra-
8 structure.

1135
1 SEC. 1609. LAUNCH SUPPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE MOD-
2 ERNIZATION.

3 (a) IN GENERAL.—In support of the policy specified
4 in section 2273 of title 10, United States Code, the Sec-
5 retary of Defense shall carry out a program to modernize
6 infrastructure and improve support activities for the proc-
7 essing and launch of United States national security space
8 vehicles launching from Federal ranges.
9 (b) ELEMENTS.—The program under subsection (a)
10 shall include—
11 (1) investments in infrastructure to improve op-
12 erations at the Eastern and Western Ranges that
13 may benefit all users, to enhance the overall capa-
14 bilities of ranges, to improve safety, and to reduce
15 the long-term cost of operations and maintenance;
16 (2) measures to normalize processes, systems,
17 and products across the Eastern and Western
18 ranges to minimize the burden on launch providers;
19 and
20 (3) improvements in transparency, flexibility,
21 and, responsiveness for launch scheduling.
22 (c) CONSULTATION.—In carrying out the program
23 under subsection (a), the Secretary may consult with cur-
24 rent and anticipated users of the Eastern and Western
25 Ranges.
1136
1 (d) COOPERATION.—In carrying out the program
2 under subsection (a), the Secretary may consider partner-
3 ships authorized under section 2276 of title 10, United
4 States Code.
5 (e) REPORT.—
6 (1) REPORT REQUIRED.—Not later than 120
7 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the
8 Secretary shall submit to the congressional defense
9 committees a report on the plan for the implementa-
10 tion of the program under subsection (a).
11 (2) ELEMENTS.—The report under paragraph
12 (1) shall include—
13 (A) a description of plans and the re-
14 sources needed to improve launch support infra-
15 structure, utilities, support equipment, and
16 range operations;
17 (B) a description of plans to streamline
18 and normalize processes, systems, and products
19 at the Eastern and Western ranges, to ensure
20 consistency for range users; and
21 (C) recommendations for improving trans-
22 parency, flexibility, and responsiveness in
23 launch scheduling.

1138
1 SEC. 1611. LIMITATION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR DELTA IV
2 LAUNCH VEHICLE.

3 None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by
4 this Act or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2018
5 or any fiscal year thereafter for the Air Force may be obli-
6 gated or expended to maintain infrastructure, system en-
7 gineering, critical skills, base and range support, deprecia-
8 tion, or sustainment commodities for the Delta IV launch
9 vehicle until the date on which the Secretary of the Air
10 Force submits to the congressional defense committees a
11 certification that the Air Force plans to launch a satellite
12 procured by the Air Force on a Delta IV launch vehicle
13 during the three-year period beginning on the date of the
14 certification



Offline Lar

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #13 on: 11/10/2017 03:32 AM »
I have a hard time reading these gobbledgooky things but "recedes" in this context means to go along with the other house.

So if I am reading this right, the follwoing happend
- Aerojet won on the engines
- Infrastructure modernization pork survives
- Delta IV pork only survives if the AF says yes, we are going to launch a Delta IV again within 3 years.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline gongora

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #14 on: 11/10/2017 03:37 AM »
I have a hard time reading these gobbledgooky things but "recedes" in this context means to go along with the other house.

So if I am reading this right, the follwoing happend
- Aerojet won on the engines
That may depend in large part on whether ULA is willing to put in more of their own funding for a methalox booster

Quote
- Infrastructure modernization pork survives
- Delta IV pork only survives if the AF says yes, we are going to launch a Delta IV again within 3 years.

Delta IV-H is already booked for years to come

Offline Lar

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #15 on: 11/10/2017 03:48 AM »
so the launch in 3 years or die is window dressing, not a clause that actually happens...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline gongora

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #16 on: 11/10/2017 04:00 AM »
Actually that text just makes NRO pay for it if the Air Force doesn't have any of their own payloads booked.

Offline gongora

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #17 on: 11/21/2017 01:55 PM »
Here is the full defense authorization bill, retrieved from
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2810/text

Space stuff starts at section 1601, EELV is section 1605

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #18 on: 11/21/2017 08:45 PM »
This little piece could be a significant concern for AJR

Quote
The amendment would terminate the authority to
develop a domestic rocket propulsion system and to develop the
necessary interfaces of a domestic rocket propulsion system once
the Secretary of the Air Force certifies to the congressional
defense committees that a successful full-scale test of a
domestic rocket engine has occurred.

A note here is that the Raptor is also a funded main propulsion system engine "under development" by the AF. So what happens when the Raptor does it's full scale tests successfully in about 6 months?

The telling item in this statement is the wording of "a successful full-scale test" instead of "the successful full-scale test". Which means the authority ends when the first funded engine successfully performs a successful full-scale test.

Offline AncientU

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Re: Launch related items in the FY2018 U.S. budget process
« Reply #19 on: 11/21/2017 09:03 PM »
A full scale test (at 250 bar) of the Raptor  currently on the stand may have already happened.  The fact that a fractionally larger engine will be created for a 'light and tight' production version may be irrelevant.  I suspect the legislators pushing this wording had other engine(s) in mind.
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 09:04 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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