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Atlas V EELV - Lockheed-Martin

In August 1995, the US Air Force named Astronautics, a division of Lockheed Martin, one of four winners of contracts for first phase development of a new family of more efficient and affordable launch vehicles called the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

The intent of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program was to develop a family of launch vehicles, services and supporting systems that would significantly reduce the life-cycle cost (LCC) compared to today's systems. A number of design features combined to provide an EELV family of launch vehicles that meets the national mission model at a significant reduction in LCC. These included:

  • Common Booster
  • Common Engine
  • Common Structure
  • Common Adapters
  • Simplified Launch Pads
  • Simplified Launch Operations
  • Existing Cryogenic Upper Stage (Centaur)

The key to the Lockheed Martin system was a liquid oxygen/kerosene (LO 2 -RP-1) common core booster that was expected to yield significant cost savings. The common core boosters were powered by the Pratt & Whitney manufactured RD-180 engine for US government missions. This engine was based on the existing, man-rated RD-170 engine, which is the world's only high-thrust, staged combustion, LO 2 -RP-1 engine in production status. The higher density of LO 2 -RP-1 for booster stages was expected to result in smaller, less complex launch vehicles and ground systems than liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen (LO 2 -LH 2 ) vehicles.

To achieve final orbital insertion, Lockheed Martin would use either a storable propellant upper stage (SUS) or the reliable Centaur for high-energy missions. Centaur was, at the time, the United States' only state-of-the-art cryogenic upper stage in production with a proven mission success record. The SUS would be powered by an evolved Agena engine which had a heritage of over 360 missions.

Another key tenet to the Lockheed Martin system was a robust design with increased operability to reduce recurring cost. Their experience in launch site activation, operations, and payload integration had led to a simplified, low-cost operations concept.

The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program was the pathway to acquisition reform. Under SAF HQ leadership, the effort would be managed with minimum specifications in an Integrated Product Team (IPT) environment. Incorporating DoD's streamlined source selection processes and insight versus oversight, in conjunction with Lockheed Martin's commitment to reducing cost and applying efficient business practices, the EELV program was expected to provide the nation with assured and affordable access to space for all of the known needs.

Lockheed Martin was streamlining procedures and processes to fully embrace the DoD goals of more insight versus oversight and allowing commercial-based business practices to be employed wherever prudent and cost effective. With a tradition of launch reliability and mission success, the Lockheed Martin team was committed to the development, demonstration, and introduction of the EELV product line early in the next century for both government and commercial uses.

Lockheed Martin led a contractor team that included Pratt & Whitney, Atlantic Research/Aerojet, Honeywell, Ensign-Bickford, and AJT & Associates.

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:46:27 ZULU