United Launch Alliance announces $300M expansion

Doubled production capacity will allow ULA to support Amazon’s Kuiper Project

United Launch Alliance rendering of a Vulcan Centaur Launch.

United Launch Alliance has announced plans for a $300 million expansion in Decatur, adding 500,000 square feet to its facilities and adding 150 jobs.

The expansion, reported in the Decatur Daily and other North Alabama news outlets, comes as ULA prepares to support Amazon’s Project Kuiper, providing the Vulcan rockets for 38 launches as Amazon works to increase broadband access worldwide.

The Kuiper project is the largest commercial rocket order to date, John Elbon, COO of ULA, said Friday, in announcing the Alabama expansion, which is expected to be complete by 2026. The first Kuiper launch is slated for 2024.

Beyond Gravity, formerly known as RUAG Space, is also planning to expand its presence at ULA’s Decatur facilities.

“We strongly believe in the mission of Project Kuiper,” said ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno when his firm was selected by Amazon in April. “We are honored to be entrusted with the majority of Amazon’s launches with a total of 47 missions, including the nine Atlas launches already on contract.”

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At the time, ULA added: “Amazon’s goal for Project Kuiper is to make high-speed, low-latency broadband more affordable and accessible for unserved and underserved communities around the world. The initiative is designed to serve individual households, as well as schools, hospitals, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations operating in places without reliable broadband services.” 

ULA is a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin.

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