Main Engine Cut Off

First Vulcan Certification Flight Delayed to 2021

Jeff Foust, SpaceNews:

“We’re making good progress on the development” of Vulcan, he said. “Our first certification flight is targeted for April of ’21. We were really excited about the results of the Air Force’s LSA procurement. We’re off and marching.”

As recently as last month, though, ULA said the first Vulcan launch was scheduled for 2020, a date the company had bene holding for some time. In a Sept. 27 release about its selection of Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine for Vulcan’s first stage, the company said the vehicle “is on track for its initial flight in mid-2020.”

I said this at the time, but I expected this news alongside either the BE-4 or Air Force selection announcements. Burying bad news with good news is always a solid plan, and I can’t imagine something has changed drastically in the last few weeks on the Vulcan front.