ULA takes over Atlas 5 commercial marketing from Lockheed Martin

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Capitalism in space: ULA has now taken over the marketing of Atlas 5 commercial launches from Lockheed Martin.

I was actually surprised when I saw this story today. I had assumed that with the merger of the launch divisions of Boeing and Lockheed Martin into the ULA joint venture in 2005 ULA had been handling this marketing already. This announcement reveals that this merger had apparently only shifted the government Atlas 5 launches to ULA’s control, and only now has the rocket’s entire business been handed to ULA.

I wonder what political in-fighting was required by ULA’s CEO Tory Bruno to get this to happen.



  • Edward

    Since ULA was not marketing the Atlas V for commercial launches, then were or are they marketing the Delta rockets for commercial launches? ULA doesn’t, but Boeing does, through Boeing Launch Services, Inc.



  • Localfluff

    Boeing is phasing out Delta IV, with the last launch this year I think. Delta IV Heavy will launch a few more times, until Falcon Heavy is proven reliable and makes that one redundant too.

  • Edward

    You may be thinking of the Delta II, which is slated to launch its last payload this summer. Delta IV is not yet scheduled to be retired, at least not until the ULA Vulcan rocket comes out. The Vulcan Heavy version should be comparable to the Falcon Heavy.

  • Localfluff

    Seems to be a couple of years ago, things slip in space (space is slippery) so things maybe have changed a bit. But I found a news article with the quote by Tory Bruno I remember:

    “Great rocket,” Bruno said of the Delta 4. “But it’s more expensive than the equivalent Atlas rocket.”
    The last of the single-stick, or intermediate-class, Delta 4 launches would take place around 2018-2019, Bruno said.

    I haven’t heard of the Vulcan coming in any heavy version. If Falcon Heavy flies, that might be a tough segment to compete in. And it isn’t needed for normal payloads. SpaceX could use it to launch more satellites at once to further cut costs, and of course for the more spectacular but rare science and human (support, without human rating the FH) missions we love to speculate about.

  • Edward

    Although I am not certain what Bruno means by “single-stick, or intermediate-class, Delta 4,” I think that he means the small and medium versions, which fly without and with strap-on boosters, respectively.

    However, there is the Delta Heavy, which looks much like a Falcon Heavy in that it has two additional core rockets alongside. Bruno may have been expecting the small and medium versions to stop flying.

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