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United Launch Alliance

On 2 May 2005 the Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corporation announced plans for an agreement to create a joint venture that would combine the production, engineering, test and launch operations associated with US government launches of Boeing Delta and Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets. The companies said the joint venture, named United Launch Alliance, would reduce the cost of meeting the critical national security and NASA expendable launch vehicle needs of the United States.

Both companies had developed versions of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) in collaboration with the Air Force and had flown them successfully. By joining together the companies claimed they could provide the customer with assured access to space at the lowest possible cost while ensuring enhanced reliability by eliminating duplicate infrastructure and bringing experts from both companies to focus on mission assurance.

United Launch Alliance would be structured as a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, combining services currently provided separately by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' Expendable Launch Systems division and by Lockheed Martin's Space Systems Company, for launches of each company's respective rockets. Based upon initial estimates, annual savings to the government resulting from the combination are expected to be approximately $100 - $150 million.

The agreement, which was subject to government and regulatory approval in the United States and internationally, also stipulated that the companies would immediately request an order from the US District Court suspending all activity in the pending civil litigation related to a previous competition for launches under the Air Force EELV program. Simultaneous with the closing of the transaction, the parties would dismiss all claims against each other.

The mission of this joint venture was to reliably meet critical launch needs, so it was imperative that the two teams come together as one with all lingering issues resolved. When agreement was reached to form this alliance, both parties agreed that they were ready to move forward with a clean slate and an undistracted focus on mission success.

Under the terms of the joint venture, Boeing's Delta and Lockheed Martin's Atlas rockets would continue to be available as alternatives on individual launch missions. This would ensure that government customers are able to make decisions that meet the goal of assured access to space with two families of launch vehicles. Upon vehicle selection, the United Launch Alliance team would carry out the mission, including vehicle integration and payload processing.

Lockheed Martin's International Launch Services (including Proton) and Boeing Launch Services (including Sea Launch) were not included in the joint venture. These entities would continue to sell launch services to non-US government customers. Additionally, work the companies were performing independently in support of NASA-sponsored Space Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle concepts for future space exploration initiatives would be excluded from this joint venture.

United Launch Alliance headquarters would be established in Denver, Colorado with most engineering and administrative activities consolidated at that location's existing Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company facilities. Major assembly and integration operations would be located primarily at Boeing's manufacturing and assembly facility in Decatur, Alabama. As part of the joint venture, Boeing's and Lockheed Martin's launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California would provide flexibility for meeting the requirements for East and West Coast launches.

United Launch Alliance was expected to have about 3,800 total employees at sites in Colorado, Alabama, Florida, California and Texas. It was anticipated that consolidation of the two organizations would eventually result in the elimination of some undetermined number of positions. A range of services would be made available to support those employees transferring to new locations to work with United Launch Alliance.

Completion of the transaction was expected in late 2005 at which time United Launch Alliance operations would begin.

United Launch Services, Centennial, Colorado, was awarded on 27 September 2018 an $867,081,864 cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price modification (P00199) to contract FA8811-13-C-0003 for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle launch capability for the Delta IV and Atlas V families of launch vehicles. The contract modification is for mission integration, base and range support, maintenance commodities, Delta depreciation, and Atlas depreciation and provides for mission assurance, program management, systems engineering, and integration of the space vehicle with the launch vehicle, launch site and range operations, and launch infrastructure maintenance and sustainment. Work will be performed in Centennial, Colorado; Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; and Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2019. Fiscal 2018 space procurement funds are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $9,769,473,249. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity.

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Page last modified: 28-09-2018 11:42:00 ZULU