5 months ago

Alabama’s ULA submits proposal for Air Force launch competition; Vulcan Centaur rocket on schedule for 2021 first flight

United Launch Alliance (ULA) on Monday announced that the company has submitted its proposal to the U.S. Air Force for the second phase of the national security space launch program known as the ‘Launch Service Procurement’ competition.

This program is heavily supported by Alabama’s aerospace industry and is widely seen as a critical national security initiative that will also end reliance on the Russian RD-180 rocket engine.

ULA was among the three American companies awarded the opportunity to develop launch vehicles for national security space missions under the first phase of the program.

The Air Force nearly one year ago awarded the three Launch Services Agreements for public-private partnerships to develop launch vehicles from this initial stage of the competition.

Now, Phase 2 is the next procurement in the Air Force’s strategy.

The Department of Defense’s selection process was designed to not only ensure a smooth transition to a U.S. engine, but additionally introduce competition, drive down costs and safeguard continued assured access to space by preventing any capability gaps.

For Phase 2, this means cutting down from three companies to two.

On Monday, ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno confirmed that the Vulcan Centaur has officially been submitted as the company’s proposal for this next competition phase.

At ULA’s factory in Decatur, production of the first Vulcan Centaur rocket continues, with shipment to the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida scheduled for late next year for processing in preparation for its first launch in 2021.

“Atlas and Delta rockets have been the backbone of national security space launch for decades, building on a progressive history of technology development and advancement — Vulcan Centaur will advance this rich heritage,” Bruno said in a statement.

His announcement followed yet another successful launch by a ULA Atlas V rocket for the Air Force last week. This rocket was also assembled at ULA’s Decatur manufacturing plant, which — at 1.6 million square feet — is the largest such facility in the western hemisphere.

“Following the successful launch of our 134th mission just last week on our Atlas rocket, we submitted our purpose-built Vulcan Centaur rocket for the U.S. Air Force’s Phase 2 Launch Services competition,” Bruno added. “It is so exciting to see the first flight vehicle coming together at our factory.”

‘Flight proven design’

ULA has an annual economic impact to Alabama of approximately $285 million.

However, Bruno has previously told Yellowhammer News that the Phase 1 award, under the Launch Services Agreement, is elevating the importance of ULA’s Yellowhammer State operation even higher.

“It’s a big shot in the arm, an increase in our confidence to know that we’re developing the right rocket that the national security community and the Air Force want to carry out the mission,” Bruno outlined. “They tell us that unambiguously when they make the award to us. And so we have plowed ahead. We have invested heavily in the Decatur factory bringing it all up to state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques.”

The Vulcan Centaur rocket will afford Alabamians the opportunity to leave an indelible mark on America’s national security effort for years to come.

“Vulcan is really purpose-built for that set of missions that are going to be needed for national security space in the future,” Bruno explained.

He added that Vulcan represents a “giant leap up in performance.”

It should be noted that as part of its strategy to lower risk and increase chances of success on its first flight in 2021, the company has already started bringing major parts of Vulcan into its Atlas program.

Vulcan’s payload faring, solid rocket boosters, avionics and computer systems will all fly on Atlas, first. Only the Blue Origin BE-4 engines will be new when Vulcan launches.

“When Vulcan flies for the first time, it’s not really flying for the first time,” Bruno advised.

On Monday, Bruno said this proven performance will pay off in a big way for the country.

“The nation is facing a contested space environment, and we are unleashing the energy of American ingenuity by developing Vulcan Centaur to meet our nation’s need for expanding space missions,” Bruno emphasized. “Vulcan Centaur’s flight-proven design, coupled with innovative technology, is transforming the future of space launch and will advance America’s superiority in space.”

ULA is the nation’s only full-range national security space launch provider and is the most experienced, with 100% mission success on its now-134 launches.

“Vulcan Centaur will provide higher performance and greater affordability while continuing to deliver our unmatched reliability and orbital accuracy precision from our treasured cryogenic Centaur upper stage,” Bruno commented.

Additionally, ULA and the heritage companies are the nation’s only firms who have ever flown the Category C heavy-class national security missions, thus providing the country with the highest possible confidence of continued low-risk mission performance.

“ULA is the best partner for national security space launch, and we are the only provider to demonstrate experience flying to all orbits including the most challenging heavy-class missions, providing the bedrock foundation for the lowest risk portfolio of two launch service providers for the U.S. Air Force,” Bruno concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Watch: Republican Women of Huntsville’s U.S. Senate candidate forum

On Tuesday, the Republican Women of Huntsville hosted a U.S. Senate candidates forum at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens.

The forum featured former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs). It was moderated by Yellowhammer News’ Jeff Poor.

The candidates were given two minutes to open, followed by questions regarding various topics including trade, foreign policy, marijuana, debts and deficits, term limits and abortion with minute-and-a-half responses, and a two-minute close.

18

Video stream courtesy of Alabama Straw Poll:

2 hours ago

Byrne: ‘Would be surprised’ if Trump doesn’t comment on Senate race; Sessions should have resigned AG post if he thought recusal was necessary

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) said former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of his opponents vying for the Republican nomination for Alabama’s U.S. Senate election in November, was fair game regarding his stint as the nation’s top law enforcement officer in the Trump administration.

In a wide-ranging interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Byrne explained that although President Donald Trump has largely remained publicly quiet about their U.S. Senate race, he anticipates Trump will eventually reveal his feelings on the contest and about Sessions.

“I would be surprised if he doesn’t,” Byrne said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “Every time I’m with him, he wants to talk about the Senate race in Alabama. Even when we’re in a big group of people, he wants to talk about it. He’s paying very close attention. He cares a lot. He cares about Alabama, number one. But he’s got some really hard feelings about Jeff [Sessions]. He really does. Even if he doesn’t say another word, take these two quotes: ‘The biggest mistake I ever made as president is appointing Jeff Sessions U.S. Attorney General.’ Or this quote, ‘Jeff Sessions is a disgrace to the great state of Alabama.’ Those two quotes that he made several months ago — I don’t see how Jeff gets over those.”

580

Byrne said he disagreed with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from any Department of Justice investigations into the 2016 elections and added that if Sessions believed his recusal was necessary, he should have resigned his post at attorney general given the scope of the investigation into the 2016 election.

“I don’t think he needed to recuse himself,” he said. “But if he felt like he needed to recuse himself, he should have resigned because he took himself out of a big chunk of what the attorney general is supposed to be doing. Look at all the things we learned in the inspector general’s report. Because he took himself off the playing field, months went by before we dealt with that. And now Attorney General Barr is dealing with that, thank God. If he couldn’t do his job, he should have said, ‘Look, I can’t do my job. I’m going to have to resign,’ and didn’t do that.”

Byrne’s sentiments echo those of another one of the candidates in the run for the 2020 GOP U.S. senatorial nod, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who a day earlier raised similar concerns about Sessions.

According to Byrne, Sessions should have seen the controversy looming on the horizon and not have accepted the appointment as attorney general during the 2016-2017 presidential transition.

“I don’t see how he didn’t see it was coming,” Byrne said. “But assuming that he didn’t — still, once he determined ‘I cannot be involved in this. I have to recuse myself,’ he should have resigned and let somebody else do that job. The president would have put him somewhere else. The president would have said, ‘OK, Jeff — you can’t do that. I’ll make you Secretary of Homeland Security.’ He would have done that. But that’s not what Jeff did. The people of Alabama have got to decide how they feel about that. But I think it is perfectly legitimate to bring that up. I think it is perfectly legitimate for Tommy Tuberville to bring that up. If Jeff is not ready to talk about, he needs to understand he is in a political campaign.”

Sessions has previously told Yellowhammer News the controversy regarding his tenure as attorney general had not come up on the campaign trail. However, Byrne said it comes up regularly for him.

“They bring it up with me all the time,” he said. “If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard this 300 or 400 times in the last few weeks alone — they’re angry with him. They’re angry he even got in the race. That’s something he has got to deal with. And you know, you look at his television commercial — that’s his effort to try to deal with it. I think that’s fair game. When you get into a campaign like this, you’ve got to expect that. We’re going to hear more about that. You’ll be hearing more about that from voters or whoever. I’m sticking with what I’m talking about right now. You know, we’ve hit a real thread with the voters here. They like what’s in that commercial I’m showing right now, the personal touch with it. So I’m going to stay with that. It’s working for me, and I’m just going to stay right there.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

4 hours ago

Aderholt: ‘I look forward to the day when there are no more abortions’

Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) recently spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about his staunch pro-life views.

Wednesday marks the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling.

Aderholt’s remarks can be seen in a video posted to his Twitter account.

“I stand here today as pro-life, pro-family and pro-child,” he began.

272

“No matter what your faith is, everyone understands that life is very precious and that life is a gift,” Aderholt continued. “I believe that as members of Congress and really as all citizens, we’re called to protect the vulnerable — and this is one of my core beliefs.”

“Being pro-life means not just pro-birth but being interested in the welfare of the child during his or her entire formative years,” the dean of Alabama’s House delegation advised. “That’s why I’m not only a longtime member of the pro-life caucus but also the co-chair of the congressional coalition on adoption.”

He showed appreciation for the Trump administration’s work on pro-life issues.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank this administration for the work they have done to defend the unborn, including changing the rules for Title X and expanding the Mexico City Policy. I look forward to continuing to work with the administration on these issues as we come to the time of January [22], where we remember the ruling of Roe versus Wade,” Aderholt remarked.

“I look forward to the day when there are no more abortions because there’s no more unwanted children,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

7 Things: Impeachment fight finally on, Doug Jones tied to Schiff and Omar, indicted judges may not get paid anymore and more …

7. Alabamians are lazy

  • The Centers for Disease Control has released a list of physical activity levels by state for adults, and Alabama ranked fourth out of states with the highest inactivity level.
  • According to the report, 31% of adults in Alabama were reported as not being physically active. Mississippi ranked first with 33%, Arkansas second with 32.5%, Kentucky in third with 32.2% and Louisiana in fifth with 30.9%.

6. Biden slipping but still the favorite

577

  • Apparently, the idea that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a giant sexist monster didn’t successfully derail his candidacy. In fact, a new poll has him leading the Democratic field with former Vice President Joe Biden with 24% closely behind U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) lagging with 14%.
  • Biden finds himself in a precarious situation. He has dropped 10 points in this poll since October while Sanders has surged up 11.

5. Daycares could be taking on a new responsibility

  • State Representative Randy Wood (R-Anniston) has prepared a bill to file with the legislature called the Cash Edwin Jordan Act. The bill would require that daycares contact the parents or guardians if a child doesn’t arrive by 9:30 am.
  • The act is named for an 11-month-old that was accidentally left in the car back in September and passed away. Last year, there were 53 kids who died due to being left in a hot car last year across the United States, most of them being three-years-old or younger.

4. Sentencing reform is going nowhere in Alabama

  • In Montgomery, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spent time discussing President Donald Trump’s criminal justice reform bill. Sessions expressed his concern over the reduced sentences, saying he thinks some of them “went too far.”
  • Sessions went on to say the reductions made him “uneasy,” but he did go on to explain that he supported several parts of the bill, including educating and helping them successfully prepare for being released.

3. Indicted judge still getting paid — a state representative wants to change that

  • Limestone County Judge Doug Patterson has been indicted on felony charges, but he’s still on the state payroll and collecting his paycheck. Now, State Representative Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) is calling for Patterson’s resignation.
  • Whitt has said that Patterson shouldn’t continue to get paid if he isn’t a working judge, also mentioning how the other three judges in the county are overworked as they pick up Patterson’s work since he was suspended last year, but every month Patterson is getting paid $10,808.84.

2. Super-PAC is throwing punches at Doug Jones

  • U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) has shown no interest in opposing the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and now the super-PAC America First Policies has put out an ad against Jones, deeming impeachment as a “radical left” project.
  • In the ad, Jones is shown to be in agreement with people like U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The ad features a clip of Jones saying, “This is not a witch hunt, this is not a hoax.” Publicly, though, Jones has told CNN that he will be reelected no matter how he votes, but in the public, he hasn’t stated how he plans to vote on impeachment.

1. White House lawyers are playing offense, Democrats want witnesses

  • With the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump opening in the U.S. Senate, lawyers for Trump came out and said that the House Democrats have “no case.” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said some of the Democratic senators “should be in Iowa,” referencing U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MD).
  • Cipollone added, “Instead, we’re here and they’re not ready to go.” When U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) took the floor, he called for a “fair trial” that he thinks most people don’t expect, as he believes people think Trump will be acquitted because of partisan politics, as if he is not partisan.

5 hours ago

Jones votes with Schumer, Democrats every time to begin Trump impeachment trial

Six-for-six. No, it is not the new deal at Wendy’s fast-food restaurants. That was Senator Doug Jones’ (D-AL) 100% record of voting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday, the first day of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump.

Jones has emphasized that he does not view impeachment through a partisan lens, however, all six of his votes fell along strict party lines to start off the impeachment trial.

The votes were on tabling Democrat amendments to the trial rules proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). All 53 Republicans all six times voted to table the amendments, while all 47 Democrats voted against tabling the amendments.

198

This comes after an ad was released earlier in the day accusing Jones of “siding with them” on impeachment, meaning siding with “the radical left.” A Jones spokesperson on Tuesday night blasted the ad as containing “blatant lies.”

RELATED: Jones vows to not be swayed by political forces on right or left on impeachment — ‘It is not worth their time’

Jones recently claimed in a CNN interview that he will be reelected in November even if he votes to remove Trump from office.

Additionally, Alabama’s junior senator recently said he is “not trying to please Chuck Schumer” nor is he “trying to necessarily please anyone” during the impeachment trial.

The “anyone” part of that statement may very well remind Alabamians of his infamous line during the Kavanaugh confirmation process, when Jones declared that representing the majority of his constituents is not “the be all to end all.” Jones ultimately voted against the confirmation.

Editor’s note: As of this writing, Jones shortly after 12:00 a.m. ET Wednesday voted with the Democrats on another impeachment trial rules amendment, making his record seven-for-seven.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn