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who owns the intellectual property rights to the RS-25 AKA the SSME ? NASA or Aerojet?

June 3, 2015

I wonder who owns the intellectual property rights to the RS-25 AKA the SSME ? NASA or Aerojet?…

   Could this engine be bid for the Air Forces EELV RFP?

   The RFP states a bidder can submit two bids so Aerojet could submit two bids one of them the RS-25 expandable.I think methane does make better sense though if you want to launch from the surface due to molar mass densities so I like the idea of a Methane powered CBC for SLS and that this could be a human-rated EELV(But see below).But what if Aerojet declined to bid this engine, do they own it?

The SLS could benefit from a Methane CBC  not sure what type of EELV this would make and at what price? My guess would be a more expensive one but if you had an all Methane SLS with Methane CBC this would a large order of engines that could augment and occasional Air Force buy.I think such an SLS would exceed the congressional targets of SLS GLOW and potentially this engine could be recovered and reflown

EDIT 16:36 hours

This question was emailed to the Air Force RFP Manager Mr. David Sharp and I believe questions are answered in an annex to the RFP, SLS RS-25 engine managers are Mike Kynard , Gary Benton, Steve Wofford.Mr. Sharp would know doubt have to ask NASA as to who owns rights to the SSME/RS-25? The way I read the RFP conceivably one entity could fly an SLS CBC and another entity could fly an RS-25 EELV

EDIT 16:57 Hours

We could do the trades Between the RS-25 and RS-68 on a Delta-IV vehicle?assuming this is the LH2/O2 engine being bid, assuming also it is also the SLS CBC in order to mass manufacture an existing engine.The Air Force RFP would receive a bid of an existing engine that would make the EELV version human rated which the RS-68 is not, The Methane variant could come later with a NASA funding contribution.This LH2/O2 RS-25, unlike the proposed Methane variant, would be available now

EDIT 17:13 Hours

And off course the RS-25 could fly in clusters on an EELV or as a SLS CBC while the RS-68 cannot. A plus since you could fly a single-stick EELV ,the key here would be a block buy both the Air Force and NASA of 20 to 30 engines to reduce costs.Aerojet would not have to pony up the required matching sums required by the RFP with a LH2/O2 RS-25 EELV 🙂

Aerojet could use the required Air Force marching funds not used on RS-25 LH2/O2 R&D to build white tail RS-25 an option the air force might like, however, we now need a launch vehicle so the air forces match could go towards this but this idea works better with a third partner which the Air Force RFP allows for!

  1. My group worked through these trades years ago and came up with the Delta V and the Delta 9. You probably would want an entirely new core since the Ares I upper stage did some advanced work and there is a lot of spin forming work that has gone on since the original Delta IV was done. The Delta V only makes sense with LRB boost, but the Delta 9 (BE-3s) could use the Aerojet SRMs.

    I’m not sure any of the principles ‘get’ this stuff, but it’s all in the public domain now.


  2. Delta V ideas are in the news again 🙂 and the congress is meddling in engine only FAR language


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