DENVER, Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- As 2010 nears its end, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is proud to celebrate its fourth anniversary with 45 successful launches in the company's 48 months of operation. ULA closed out 2010 in impressive fashion with the launch of the fourth Delta IV Heavy in program history. The Nov. 21 launch capped a year of 100 percent mission success, including the launch of four Atlas V, one Delta II and three Delta IV rockets.
Among the 2010 payloads were several "firsts" for the Air Force including the first next generation GPS satellite, the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite and the first Orbital Test Vehicle. Two launches each for NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office and a commercial launch completed the year.
In addition to eight launch successes in 2010, ULA also achieved many other accomplishments this year, including:
- A $6.7 million contract award from NASA to participate in the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program for the development of an Emergency Detection System (EDS), which is the final significant element necessary for a safe and highly reliable human-rated launch vehicle.
- The celebration of 50 years of launch for one of the most successful rocket programs in U.S. history—the Delta program, which began with its first launch May 13, 1960. The launch of the 350th Delta rocket also occurred in the program's 50th anniversary year with the launch of COSMO-SkyMed 4 aboard a Delta II.
- The launch contract award for the first Block II and fourth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-4) satellite. The WGS system is the first satellite constellation to launch on both the Atlas and Delta vehicles since ULA's inception, demonstrating our operational flexibility.
- Further support of NASA's Mars exploration programs with the launch contract award for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission.
- Participation in President Obama's Change the Equation (CTEq) program, a CEO-led initiative to cultivate widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) across the nation.
- The evaluation and implementation of slot manifesting initiatives to enhance overall manifest scheduling responsiveness in coordination with key customers.
- Membership with the Commercial Spaceflight Federation to strengthen business relationships with ULA's existing commercial partners including Bigelow Aerospace, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Space Florida and XCOR Aerospace.
- The launch of the 25-foot tall, 240-pound "Future" high-power rocket—the largest rocket ever launched from Colorado—designed, built and launched by ULA interns.
- The presentation of the 2010 AIAA George M. Low Space Transportation Award to ULA President and CEO Michael Gass for his leadership in combining the Atlas V and Delta II and IV launch vehicle programs while executing launches with 100 percent mission success.
- An Aviation Week ranking as third best company for "Valuing the Individual" in the publication's annual feature, "Where Aerospace & Defense Professionals Want to Work."
- More than 24,000 donated volunteer hours and $150,000 to non-profits across the country from ULA's matching time program, and contributions totaling $659,000 in the company's annual United Way campaign. Additionally, the company donated to more than 110 non-profits nationwide through the company's other corporate citizenship programs.
"These accomplishments were no easy feat and are testament to the hard work and dedication of our 3,700 employees with whom I am privileged to work with every day at ULA," said Michael Gass, ULA president and chief executive officer. "We strive to provide our government and commercial customers with reliable access to space, one launch at a time, and the combined expertise of everyone on the ULA team is the reason for our sustained mission success. As we celebrate our fourth anniversary, I am extremely proud of our company's 45 successful launches to date and all that our team has achieved in 2010. I look forward to making 2011 even better."
ULA will begin 2011 with another notable accomplishment as the first-ever West Coast Delta IV Heavy is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., scheduled for Jan. 11, 2011. There are five Atlas V, three Delta II and three additional Delta IV launches currently planned for next year.
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Tex. and San Diego, Calif. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. For more information on the ULA joint venture, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321).
SOURCE United Launch Alliance