ULA To Provide Launch Capability for Military

by: Matthew Potter
January 12, 2012

Category: Boeing, Business Line, Companies, development program, Lockheed Martin, production program, Satellites, space | RSS 2.0

The U.S. Air Force recently awarded a contract to United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide vehicles to launch military payloads into space. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) and manufactures these vehicles primarily at their Decatur, AL facility.

ULA was an outgrowth of a program from the early part of this century called Assured Access to Space. The plan was to have the ability to launch when necessary and would rely on Boeing and Lockheed to provide their two main launch vehicles – the Atlas and Delta rockets. Originally the two companies would have competing contracts to control costs. After reviewing the requirements and to assure both systems were available it was decided to combine their efforts into ULA.

A contract to support various satellite launches was awarded this week with a value of over $1.5 billion. This is for 5 Atlas V and 4 Delta IV systems. The launches will all occur by 2014. The payloads include reconnaissance systems, GPS satellites and two weather ones.

ULA has been the primary provider of launch vehicles for military, science and foriegn payloads for several years. With the demise of the space shuttle which also had the ability to deliver satellites to some orbits unless the Air Force or NASA choose one of the newly emerging commercial space contractors, like Space X, ULA will continue to win most of the work.

Photo from Ryan Somma’s Flickr photostream.

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