Browse Definitions :
Definition

United Launch Alliance (ULA)

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is a private aerospace launch provider. Formed in 2006, ULA is a joint venture between The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation. ULA  provides spacecraft launch services to United States government agencies - such as the Department of Defense, NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office.  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. 

Currently, ULA subsidiary United Launch Services LLC (ULS) contracts launch services using the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles. The Atlas and Delta families have been used for more than 50 years.  Atlas and Delta have been used to to carry weather, telecommunications and national security satellites; also, they supported deep space and interplanetary exploration missions in support of scientific research. The Delta 4, designed by Boeing, and the Atlas 5, built by Lockheed Martin, were developed for the Air Force as expendable launch vehicles for high-priority national security payloads. Long-term, ULA plans to replace the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets.  The intended replacement is a powerful, less-expensive, and partly-reusable launcher known as Vulcan. ULA is targeting mid-2020 for the maiden flight of the Vulcan.  The heavy payload launch vehicle is believed to help ULA compete with companies such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin

Payloads

Delta 4 Heavy, which used to be the world's most powerful operational rocket, can send nearly 32 tons of payload (more than the weight of two standard school buses) into low-Earth orbit.  However, Vulcan will be able to boost 80,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit; or up to 35,900 pounds to the elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbits (GTO) used by communications satellites bound for operational stations 22,300 above the equator. Vulcan will be:

  • 28 feet tall
  • its initial version will have two U.S.-made first stage-engines
  • up to six solid-fuel strap-on boosters
  • an upgraded Centaur second stage with up to four engines

Later versions will have reusable first-stage engines and an advanced upper stage known as the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage, or ACES.  ULA is aiming to introduce this in 2024. ACES is a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen upper-stage rocket expected to boost satellite payloads to geosynchronous orbit or, in the case of an interplanetary space probe, to escape velocity.

The least powerful version of the Vulcan rocket - without solid-fuel boosters and the ACES upper stage - is expected to start at less than $100 million. The base version of ULA's Atlas 5 rocket is currently about $109 million. A Delta 4 Heavy costs $350 million per launch (a figure that is high because the latter is not reusable), in contrast to SpaceX's $90 million Falcon Heavy. The Vulcan's engines, which account for two-thirds of the cost of the stage, will be recovered and reused after every flight.

This was last updated in June 2020

Continue Reading About United Launch Alliance (ULA)

Networking
  • SD-WAN security

    SD-WAN security refers to the practices, protocols and technologies protecting data and resources transmitted across ...

  • net neutrality

    Net neutrality is the concept of an open, equal internet for everyone, regardless of content consumed or the device, application ...

  • network scanning

    Network scanning is a procedure for identifying active devices on a network by employing a feature or features in the network ...

Security
CIO
  • strategic management

    Strategic management is the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all necessities an organization needs to ...

  • IT budget

    IT budget is the amount of money spent on an organization's information technology systems and services. It includes compensation...

  • project scope

    Project scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, ...

HRSoftware
  • director of employee engagement

    Director of employee engagement is one of the job titles for a human resources (HR) manager who is responsible for an ...

  • digital HR

    Digital HR is the digital transformation of HR services and processes through the use of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (...

  • employee onboarding and offboarding

    Employee onboarding involves all the steps needed to get a new employee successfully deployed and productive, while offboarding ...

Customer Experience
  • chatbot

    A chatbot is a software or computer program that simulates human conversation or "chatter" through text or voice interactions.

  • martech (marketing technology)

    Martech (marketing technology) refers to the integration of software tools, platforms, and applications designed to streamline ...

  • transactional marketing

    Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, point-of-sale transactions.

Close