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ULA contracted by Air Force for Delta IV rocket launch

The company's United Launch Services subsidiary received the contract for the National Reconnaissance Office Launch Mission One aboard the Delta IV rocket.

By Tauren Dyson
ULA contracted by Air Force for Delta IV rocket launch
ULA's Delta IV rocket carries a National Reconnaissance Office payload into space from Space Launch Complex 6 at Vendenberg Air Force Base in California on Jan. 12, 2018. Photo by Michael Peterson/U.S. Air Force

Oct. 25 (UPI) -- United Launch Services, a part of the United Launch Alliance, has received an award for $152.4 million to provide heavy launch services for the U.S. Air Force.

Under the terms of the firm-fixed-price contract, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, ULA will support the National Reconnaissance Office Launch Mission One on the Delta IV rocket.

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"We are honored the NRO selected ULA's Delta IV Heavy rocket for this important national security mission. ULA remains the only launch vehicle provider capable of launching to all the current reference missions to meet the needs of the national security market," Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO, said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to provide reliable, on-time launch services as we transform our company to make access to space more affordable."

The National Reconnaissance Office operates jointly with the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies to develop, launch and manage U.S. signals, imagery and communication satellites. The NRO passes along data it gathers to the National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and other mission partners to produce intelligence information for national policy makers.

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The next NRO launch is scheduled for Nov. 29 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California.

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United Launch Services is a subsidiary of ULA that provides launches for aircraft and missiles using ULA's Atlas and Delta launch vehicles.

Work on the contract will be performed in Alabama and Colorado, with the full value of the contract obligated to the company from 2018 missile procurement funds.

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The work is expected to be completed by June 30, 2021.

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