Continuing Resolution Could Doom AR1

Either a six-month or a 12-month continuing resolution would fund U.S. government activities at 2016 levels and would push off the start of more than 60 new Air Force programs, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Aug. 10. That list includes more than a half-dozen programs related to national security space

One of the programs that could be affected is the one funding development of the AR1, BE-4, and ACES. Blue Origin isn’t going to stop their work on the BE-4, because that’s paramount to their own ambitions, but the AR1 work could be hit hard.

With no usage currently planned, except as a replacement for the RD-180 (which is due to be phased out just about the time the AR1 comes online), I don’t see a lot of motivation from Aerojet to scrape together change found in the couch cushions to keep its development going.

The BE-4 is due to be tested in full by the end of the year, and ULA expects to make their decision for which engine to use on Vulcan shortly after that.

The AR1 can’t afford any delays or stoppages. Unless Aerojet can find another compelling use case for the AR1, the writing is on the wall.