Status Report

United Launch Alliance Continues Rapid Launch Rate, Delivering Mission Success and Manifest Reliability

By SpaceRef Editor
July 25, 2013
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During the last eight days, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) team has completed five major processing activities, including one launch, on three different launch pads at both Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.

On July 17, for the first time, ULA conducted a Delta IV Wet Dress Rehearsal at Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for the upcoming WGS-6 launch on Aug. 7, and the same day rolled the Atlas V vehicle to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41, also at CCAFS, in preparation for the MUOS-2 launch on July 19. In addition, two spacecraft were attached to boosters in preparation for launch. On July 23, the WGS-6 spacecraft was mated to the Delta IV launch vehicle at Space Launch Complex 37 at CCAFS and on July 24, the NROL-65 spacecraft was mated to the Delta IV Heavy vehicle at Space Launch Complex 6 at VAFB.

“These simultaneous operations demonstrate the tremendous capabilities of the combined contractor and U.S. government teams,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “With this team’s innovative and ever-present focus on delivering mission success and reliable and repeatable processes through Perfect Product Delivery®, the United Launch Alliance team has achieved an unparalleled launch rate.”

ULA continues to pursue new ways and implement inventive programs such as launch span time reduction, production cycle time reduction and World Class 5S, to deliver on its commitments to its customers.

“The ability for ULA to reduce its processing time and increase process reliability both during manufacturing and at the launch sites, offers our customers added manifest flexibility as well as additional launch opportunities to ensure their missions are delivered reliably and on-time,” said Sponnick. “We are ready to launch when are customers need us to be.”

ULA has already successfully launched six missions this year, with six remaining missions on the manifest and 15 missions scheduled for 2014.

“We are in the middle of a launch campaign with an operational tempo that is unprecedented since the inception of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program more than a decade ago,” said Sponnick. “This team’s ability to maintain this high tempo with a one launch at-a-time focus on 100 percent mission success is a testament to the decades of experience this team brings each and every day to this exacting business.”

ULA’s next launch is the Delta IV WGS-6 mission for the U.S. Air Force scheduled Aug. 7 from Space Launch Complex-37 at CCAFS, followed just three weeks later by the Delta IV Heavy NROL-65 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office from Space Launch Complex-6 at VAFB.

Developed by the United States Air Force to assure access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads, the EELV Program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.

ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

SpaceRef staff editor.