United Launch Alliance
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is a 50-50 joint venture owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin and formed in December 2006. Through its Atlas V and Delta II and IV rockets, United Launch Alliance (ULA) provides space launch services for the U.S. government, including NASA, the Department of Defense, and the National Reconnaissance Office.
ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Manufacturing, assembly, and integration operations are located at Decatur, Alabama, Denver, Colorado, Harlingen, Texas, and San Diego, California. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
In July 2011, while the final mission of the Space Shuttle was in progress, NASA signed an agreement with ULA to assess its Atlas V rocket for use in human missions. The work will determine which components on the Atlas already meet NASA's stringent requirements for human spaceflight and which elements might need to be upgraded if the rocket is to be certified for astronaut missions. In parallel with this assessment, ULA will continuie development on its Emergency Detection System that would be placed in the Atlas to give warning of a major malfunction. In such an event, the EDS would trigger the abort mechanism on the crewship atop the rocket, carrying this vehicle and its astronauts to a safe distance.