Livermore Lab back in rocket development business

2 new $1.5 million contracts have Lab developing next generation of rocket propulsion

Two recent contracts worth nearly $1.5 million that have been awarded to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have brought the Laboratory back into the rocket development business.

The last Livermore designed and fabricated rocket vehicle, powered by an LLNL engine, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1994. It was conceived and designed by aerospace engineer John Whitehead and his team, which included collaborators from Aerojet, for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, predecessor of today's Missile Defense Agency.

The two new contracts provide a significant role for both high performance computing-based modeling and simulation, as well as advanced manufacturing in developing the next generation of rocket propulsion and reusable space launch vehicles for the U.S.

"We are excited by these awards because they provide the Laboratory with the opportunity to use its unique capabilities to make a difference in access to space, which is important to our national security," said Bill Bruner, the Lab's NASA/commercial space relationship manager.

The Next Generation Rocket (NGR) project, a development effort by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is using LLNL's high performance computing capability and advanced large-eddy simulation codes to model rocket engine combustion in future liquid-propellant rocket engines.

Under a $750,000


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