XCOR Aerospace has secured a contract to develop an upper stage propulsion system for Vulcan next-generation launch systems being developed by United Launch Alliance (ULA) for the US Air Force (USAF).
Under the terms of the agreement, the company will provide 8H21 LO2/LH2 liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine for the upper stage propulsion for ULAs advanced cryogenic evolved stage (ACES).
XCOR president Jay Gibson: "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.
"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 USAF in their evolving launch efforts."
The XCOR engine uses piston pumps and other unique rocket engine components to deliver a low cost solution for easier access to space.
Last week, the USAF selected ULA and Blue Origin to develop a new rocket propulsion system to power the Vulcan rocket.
The companies will collaborate on developing the BE-4 rocket engine that will offer an alternative to the Russian RD-180.
The development of the BE-4 is fully funded by Blue Origin, with investment by ULA. The companies expect to achieve qualification for flight in 2017.
Each ULA Vulcan booster will be powered by two engines, to provide a thrust of 1,100,000lb at lift-off.