March 9, 2016 – United Launch Alliance (ULA), the nation’s premier launch services provider, has awarded XCOR Aerospace with a new contract through the United States Air Force to develop an upper stage propulsion system for Vulcan, ULA’s next-generation launch system.
“We are very proud of our long and ongoing relationship with ULA, and very pleased ULA has chosen XCOR as a potential upper stage engine provider,” said Jay Gibson, President XCOR. “We have already begun work on the 8H21 development, and are very excited about the long term potential for XCOR to support ULA and the United States Air Force in their evolving launch efforts.”
XCOR’s 8H21 LO2/LH2 engine (25k lbf thrust) is being developed for the upper stage propulsion for ULAs Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES). Since 2008 XCOR has been working closely with ULA on a subscale 2,500 lbf thrust liquid hydrogen engine, which was successfully built and tested in 2015.
In 2016, XCOR began development on the full scale 25k lbf thrust liquid hydrogen engine, the 8H21, under a privately funded contract with ULA. This partnership with the Air Force will further support this engine development.
The 8H21 is a liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine that uses XCOR’s proprietary piston pumps and other unique rocket engine components to deliver a low cost solution for easier access to space. The 8H21 also uses the same technology that XCOR has been developing for their own reusable engine programs, designed with forward capabilities in mind for future reusable engine development programs.