ULA Concludes Successful Year of Launches

Atlas V launches Cygnus to the International Space Station. (Credit: ULA)
Atlas V launches Cygnus to the International Space Station. (Credit: ULA)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., (ULA PR) – After another year with 100 percent mission success, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) team capped off the year with the launch of the OA-4 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 6 and prepares for its 10th anniversary and highest operations Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) tempo to date in 2016.

“What an incredible year for ULA,” said Tory Bruno, president and CEO of ULA. “I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the best launch team in the world. I am so thankful to all of our employees and industry partners for their commitment to get the job done. I am also grateful for the support from all our families as we continue to push boundaries and get ready for next year!”

In 2015, ULA flawlessly launched 12 missions from two coasts using the Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V rockets in support of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, National Reconnaissance Office, NASA and multiple commercial customers. The company also celebrated exciting milestones – reaching 100 launches with the Oct. 2 Morelos-3 mission and completing ULA’s first mission to the ISS, both on Atlas V vehicles.

“These missions are so important for keeping our service members safe around the world, enhancing our GPS capabilities and enabling scientific research in space that will inspire the next generation of rocket scientists and astronauts,” Bruno said.

ULA also announced two new initiatives in 2015 that will transform the future of space lift. At the 31st Space Symposium in April, Bruno unveiled the Vulcan rocket, ULA’s next- generation launch system, which will be the highest-performing, most cost-efficient rocket on the market.

Additionally, Bruno announced ULA’s Cubesat program in November, supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and making space more accessible by offering universities the opportunity to compete for free rides to space on Atlas V rockets.

“This initiative will not only make STEM rides free, frequent and predictable, but will potentially double the world’s lifts for CubeSat,” said Bruno.

Over the course of the year, ULA was awarded three launch services contracts beating all commercial competitors for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) and Solar Probe Plus missions as well as the EchoStar XIX commercial mission.

“Customers are selecting ULA’s launch vehicles for competitively awarded missions due to our proven reliability and schedule certainty,” said Bruno. “We launch when our customers are ready to launch.”

ULA also implemented new cost-savings initiatives in 2015. In coordination with the U.S. Air Force, ULA began conducting Offsite Vertical Integration (OVI) of the Centaur upper stage for the Atlas V rocket reducing the time required between launches and mitigating the risk of weather-related processing delays.

In addition to OVI, ULA dramatically reduced costs of major supply chain items by 40-45 percent through strategic partnership initiatives with Orbital ATK, Blue Origin and RUAG for solid rocket boosters, the BE-4 engine development and composites production capability which will bring jobs from oversees to the United States, respectively.

“ULA will continue to find innovative ways to team with fellow industry experts because we absolutely must make space more affordable and accessible for our current and future customers,” Bruno said.

ULA will celebrate its 10th anniversary year with its highest operations EELV tempo to date, with 16 launches planned for 2016.

“I cannot wait for another spectacular year of launches with ULA,” Bruno said. “We are the nation’s premier launch service provider because of our focus on mission success, unmatched reliability, schedule certainty and cost reduction for our customers. We will maintain that focus as we continue to transform the space launch industry in 2016. Congratulations and thank you again to all of our employees and families. I am truly humbled to work alongside you as we provide our nation with assured access to space.”

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites 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.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.