Listen up, space lovers. Colorado-based aerospace company United Launch Alliance (ULA) and a major partner are expanding the factory to double rocket production and launch thousands of internet satellites for Amazon’s Project Kuiper. here are the details.
Watch this expansion take off
ULA, the largest provider of space launches for U.S. military and spy satellites, broke ground on a $300 million warehouse and facilities expansion project in October at the company’s Alabama Vulcan rocket factory in Decatur.
According to the Birmingham Business Journal, the company is adding two buildings totaling 600,000 square feet on the campus. One of the buildings will serve as a company warehouse for expanded Vulcan production. The other will be a second onsite factory for Swiss aerospace manufacturer Beyond Gravity—one of its major suppliers.
“We have a long history of a strong partnership with Beyond Gravity and look forward to continuing the great work as we increase our launch rate for our Vulcan launch vehicle.”Tory Bruno, CEO, United Launch Alliance
In addition, ULA is building another warehouse to help make room to fill the 38-launch contract between the Decatur rocket factory and Seattle-based Project Kuiper. The contract that approves using ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rockets to establish its 3,126-satellite fleet was signed earlier this year.
The United Launch Alliance expansion signals a return to growth. The 2,500-employee company had slimmed its workforce in recent years in preparation for narrowing its rocket production to one launch vehicle, Vulcan. The rocket replaces the Atlas V and Delta rockets the company has been using since it formed in 2006 as a joint venture combining the launch divisions of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin.
Being contracted by Project Kuiper to launch thousands of satellites means ULA will have a commercial launch business equaling the number of U.S. military and spy agency missions it handles—for the first time.
In addition to its Decatur expansion, the company will build a second set of launch infrastructure at its Vulcan launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to accommodate a doubled launch rate.
Looking for more news around Alabama? We’ve got you covered:
- The Scottsboro Boys Museum has officially reopened—details here
- University of South Alabama expands Pathway USA program
- The University of Alabama experiences another record-breaking year: outside support for research doubles in 4 years