The US Air Force continues its efforts to look for a replacement rocket for the Russian-built RD-180 Atlas rocket design.
On 29 February, the Space and Missile Systems Center awarded two public-private rocket development contracts. One award is to Aerojet Rocketdyne for development of the AR1 rocket propulsion system. The initial government investment is US$115.3 million. The other award is to United Launch Alliance for development of the Vulcan/BE-4 rocket propulsion system and the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) rocket propulsion system. The initial government investment is US$46.6 million with US$45.8 million for the Vulcan/BE-4 effort and US$0.8 million for the ACES effort.