- Parabolic Arc
- June 2, 2023
ULA Wins Multi-Year Competitive Contract Award to Launch Critical National Security Space Missions for U.S. Space Force
CENTENNIAL, Colo., Aug. 7, 2020 (ULA PR) – The U.S. Space Force announced today that United Launch Alliance (ULA) was awarded a firm, fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract to launch 60 percent of the missions on its newest launch procurement contract. This contract resulted from a competitive award under the Space Force’s National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 procurement.
“ULA is honored to be selected as one of two launch providers in this procurement,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “Vulcan Centaur is the right choice for critical national security space missions and was purpose built to meet all of the requirements of our nation’s space launch needs. For decades, we have been a trusted partner to safely and securely deliver strategic national security space assets for our nation’s defense and this award shows the continued confidence of our customer in the commitment and dedication of our people to safeguard these missions by reliably launching our country’s most critical and challenging missions.”
The competitive process ensures the U.S. has continued assured access to space and supports a robust domestic national security industrial base. The award represents missions ordered in fiscal years 2020 through 2024 with launches occurring through 2027. The missions will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
“Our Atlas and Delta rockets have been the backbone of American space launch for decades and with Vulcan Centaur we continue to build on this progressive history of technology and advancement,” said Bruno. “Vulcan Centaur provides higher performance and greater affordability while continuing to deliver our unmatched reliability and orbital precision that will continue to provide reliable, on-time access to space well into the future.”
With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully launched 140 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.
For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.
6 responses to “ULA Wins Multi-Year Competitive Contract Award to Launch Critical National Security Space Missions for U.S. Space Force”
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I’m sure that years from now that this will turn out to be a cost-effective solution for launching critical space infrastructure.
Years from now, with more competitors fielding reusable rockets and reusability ever gaining more acceptance, if your rocket isn’t reusable, it won’t be cost-effective.
The taxpayers will watch ULA hand-craft a launcher dialed-in at great cost, for great reliability, launched to great fanfare. Meanwhile, SpaceX Satellite Services will put a crate marked ‘Pentagon – Special Handling’ on the Tuesday weekly Spaceship flight to orbit, and the crew will unpack it, check the tag to make sure it’s in the proper orbit, uncrate it, and push it out the cargo hatch. The crate will be recycled.
“Great reliability” is a canard. There has never been any instances of SpaceX not delivering an EELV-class payload contracted by the DoD to its requested orbit. If anything, a reusable rocket is more reliable because the engineers can actually take apart a rocket that has been to space and back and see what components held up well and what components need to be improved. ULA has never been able to do that, and never will.
And we are not talking about just SpaceX. If you haven’t noticed, Jeff Bezos has invested billions in a much larger version of what SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is. Even the Europeans are experimenting with their new Prometheus methalox engine and looking to build a 9-engine reusable booster with it. Then there are the Chinese.
Against even just New Glenn, ULA Vulcan is 1) volume-constrained against New Glenn’s 7m-diameter fairing and 2) New Glenn will have lower operating costs because the booster is reusable.
A decade from now, if you don’t have a reusable rocket, you won’t be cost-effective.
Joe (I assume Joe Schmoe), Joe I say, I don’t think you’re quite getting how sarcastic I’m being about ULA’s capabilities vs SpaceX.
As for Blue Origin, I’m certain that New Glenn will make a triumphant debut in 2030. I might very well be dead by then, but I’ll still cheer from my funerary urn.
Two launches from ULA for two flights at $340 Mil, and one launch from SpaceX at $320 for one launch. I assume that SpaceX launch is a Falcon Heavy in full throw away mode. Probably the same payload that goes up in a Delta IV Heavy. None of those flights are cheap.