Press Release

United Launch Alliance Congratulates NASA as Shuttle Ends 30 Years of Spaceflight

By SpaceRef Editor
July 21, 2011
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ULA Launches NASA into the Future

On behalf of the men and women of United Launch Alliance (ULA), we would like to recognize the outstanding contributions to mankind of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. For more than 30 years, the Space Shuttle has launched American heroes into space, enabling scientific discovery, increasing our understanding of our planet and its changing climate, and facilitating assembly of the International Space Station – providing humanity’s most extended presence in space.

Throughout the shuttle era, the U.S. space industry has been proud to work together as a team with NASA to build, launch, operate and land the world’s first reusable space transportation system. Through triumphs and setbacks, the people of NASA and the Shuttle workforce have never lost sight of America’s leadership in space and NASA’s role in expanding the frontier. The space shuttle is a remarkable spacecraft with a rich legacy of accomplishments that stands as an icon of America’s can-do spirit.

Although the space shuttle has completed its final mission, ULA is launching NASA into the future with five historic missions in just six months, delivering critical NASA payloads to orbit in support of the global science community. This campaign is unprecedented not only for its reach across the solar system, but also for its tempo and precision.

Last month, an ULA Delta II launched Aquarius, improving our understanding of Earth’s climate. In August, an Atlas V will launch Juno on a five-year journey to Jupiter to unlock its inner secrets. In September, a Delta II will send GRAIL to map the Moon’s quirky gravitational field. In October, a Delta II will launch the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) into polar orbit, providing weather continuity and climate data. Finally, in November, an Atlas V will launch Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) with Curiosity, the largest ever Mars rover on a mission to the red planet.

In addition, under the Commercial Crew Program, ULA is proud to be the launch vehicle of choice for Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser and Blue Origin’s Space Vehicle, and compete to support Boeing’s CST-100 program. Working together with NASA, these established companies and entrepreneurs plan to usher in a bold new era of human spaceflight; not only transporting NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, but opening spaceflight to non-government passengers for the first time.

We at United Launch Alliance are honored to have been NASA’s partners since the launch of John Glenn 50 years ago on an Atlas, and are proud to boldly launch NASA into the future.

SpaceRef staff editor.