United Launch Alliance set for takeoff
Partnership could bring 800 new aerospace jobs to Metro Denver HQ
In December 2006, Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced the official completion of an agreement to combine the companies' expendable launch vehicle business under a 50/50 joint venture coined the United Launch Alliance (ULA).
The new partnership, combining the production, engineering, test, and launch operations associated with U.S. government launches of Boeing Delta and Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets will headquarter in Metro Denver, bringing as many as 800 new aerospace jobs to the region.
The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) has worked with both companies since 2005 to help relocate Boeing employees from Huntington Beach, CA to Metro Denver. "We consider ULA a big 'coup' for the Metro Denver region," said Holli Baumunk, vice president of economic development for the Metro Denver EDC. "Aerospace is an industry we target because of its high-paying jobs and significant growth potential."
ULA recently marked its first official launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base on December 14, 2006 – a Delta II rocket mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
The ULA news follows an announcement in August by NASA, awarding Lockheed Martin the coveted $8.2 billion Orion contract to build the nation's next generation space vehicle for travel back to the moon and later to Mars. Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA's primary vehicle for human space exploration. Lockheed Martin recently leased a 140,000-square-foot building in southeast Denver to house the Orion team. Orion employment is expected to grow from 250 currently up to as many as 600.
With the 1-2 combination of the Orion project and the United Launch Alliance, Colorado is expected to surpass Texas to become the nation's second largest space economy in terms of private aerospace employment.