United Launch Alliance (ULA); Company profile, history and mission

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is a joint venture between private space companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides launch vehicles to NASA, the Department of Defense and other organizations. It is an American aerospace manufacturer, defense contractor and launch service provider that manufactures and operates a number of rocket vehicles that launch spacecraft into orbits around Earth and other bodies in the Solar System. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, ULA’s rockets are among the largest and most powerful in the industry.

ULA is the nation’s most experienced space launch company with more than 155 consecutive launches and a 100% mission success rate. ULA brings the utmost precision, passion and purpose to one of the most technically complex, critical American needs: affordable, reliable access to space.
ULA also provides launch services for non-government satellites. ULA company headquarters are in Centennial, Colorado.  Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are in Decatur, Alabama, and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.


United Launch Alliance, L.L.C. (ULA) provides spacecraft launch services. The Company offers program management, engineering, test, and mission support services for launching of rockets. ULA serves department of defense, NASA, the national reconnaissance office, and other government organizations in the United States.

Salvatore T. “Tory” Bruno is the president and chief executive officer for United Launch Alliance (ULA). In this role, Bruno serves as the principal strategic leader of the organization and oversees all business management and operations.

ULA provides launch services using expendable launch systems Delta IV Heavy and Atlas V, and until 2018 the medium-lift Delta II. The Atlas, Delta IV Heavy and the retired Delta IV launch systems have launched payloads including weather, telecommunications, and national security satellites, scientific probes and orbiters. ULA also launches commercial satellites. ULA has announced the retirement of its two remaining launch vehicles, which will be replaced by Vulcan Centaur.

As of 2022, the company is developing the Vulcan Centaur, a successor to the Atlas V and Delta IV. The maiden flight is planned to take place on 24 December 2023, launching Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine lunar lander.

 The program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Alabama, and Harlingen, Texas.


Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced their intent to form a 50-50 joint venture on 2 May 2005 aiming to consolidate the manufacture and deployment of US government expendable launch vehicles and launch services. The United Launch Alliance name was announced at the same time.
In May 2005, The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation announced plans to form the United Launch Alliance (“ULA”), a joint venture which combined the only two suppliers of medium-to-heavy (“MTH”) national security related launch services to the United States government. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) conducted a review of the antitrust implications of the transaction and, in consultation with the Department of Defense (“DOD”), approved the deal in October 2006 subject to restrictions governing ULA’s relationship other satellite manufacturers and providers of launch services.
The transaction confronted DOD and the FTC with difficult questions concerning the future of the U.S. national security industrial base and the application of competition policy in the aerospace and defense (“A&D”) sector. The DOD recommended that the FTC approve the transaction, mainly on the ground that the joint venture would increase launch reliability by concentrating production and launch services in a single team rather than subdividing launch vehicle production and launch preparation activities between two separate organizations.
In the FTC’s review, the DOD’s recommendation was decisive. By a vote of 5-0, the FTC cleared the transaction, though it did so with evident reluctance. The Commission observed: “In the U.S. government MTH launch services market, Boeing and Lockheed are the only competitors, and their consolidation will result in a monopoly.  The agency concluded that “significant anticompetitive effects, including the loss of non-price competition and the loss of future price competition, are likely if the proposed transaction is consummated.


ULA was formed in 2006, and has since successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit using the Atlas and Delta families of rockets, according to Boeing. The satellites help perform weather monitoring, Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation and aid in scientific research.
The first launch conducted by ULA was a Delta II from Vandenberg Air Force Base on 14 December 2006, carrying the satellite US-193 for the National Reconnaissance Office. The satellite failed shortly after launch and was intention Aally destroyed on 21 February 2008, by an SM-3 missile that was fired from the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Lake Erie. ULA’s first Atlas V launch was in March 2007; it was an Atlas V variant 401 launching six military research satellites for Space Test Program (STP) 1. This mission also performed three burns of the Centaur upper stage; it was the first three-burn mission for Atlas V.
United launch alliance
United launch alliance
On 18 May 2021, the SBIRS GEO 5 missile- warning satellite was launched on an Atlas V 421 rocket. The Lucy spaceflight began on 16 October 2021 upon launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket into a stable parking orbit. During the next hour, the second stage reignited to place Lucy on an interplanetary trajectory in a heliocentric orbit on a twelve-year mission to two groups of Sun-Jupiter Lagrange point Trojan asteroids as well as a close flyby of a main belt asteroid during one of three planned passes through the asteroid belt. If the spacecraft remains operational during the 12-year planned duration, it is likely the controlled flight will be continued and directed at additional asteroid targets.
United Launch Alliance has only launched one rocket in 2023 and Hurricane Idalia put a hold on what it planned to be No. 2.


The mission statement of ULA is Save Lives, Explore the Universe, Connect the World. ” At United Launch Alliance (ULA) we don’t just see ourselves as your ride to space. We are your partner and are committed to your mission’s success.” With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 155 missions to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system. Since ULA was formed, our rockets have placed more than $70 billion of satellite assets into orbit.

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  1. Pingback: Vulcan Centaur Rocket; Features, Design And Development. | Lampchart

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