United Launch Alliance selects Blue Origin as partner to build rocket system

Blue Origin will build a facility at Cummings Research Park to create its BE-4 engine that will be used in the beginning stages of the Vulcan Centaur Rocket System.

Posted: Sep. 27, 2018 3:22 PM
Updated: Sep. 27, 2018 6:41 PM

United Launch Alliance announced Thursday afternoon that it has selected Blue Origin to build an advanced booster engine for ULA's Vulcan Centaur Rocket System.

Blue Origin will build a facility at Cummings Research Park to create its BE-4 engine. ULA has a facility in Decatur that produces the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets. The BE-4 engine will be used in the beginning stages of the Vulcan Centaur, which will also be assembled in Alabama.

The Vulcan Centaur is on track for a test flight in 2020.

According to Senator Richard Shelby, the partnership will create hundreds of jobs and bring an investment of $200 million to Alabama.

“This is a true testament to North Alabama’s world-class workforce and long history of supporting our nation’s space and defense," Shelby said. "I am proud to represent a region that continues to attract such powerful companies."

ULA's president and CEO, Tory Bruno, said the Vulcan Centaur will revolutionize spaceflight.

“We are well on our way to the introduction of Vulcan Centaur – the future of U.S. rocket manufacturing," Bruno said. "With state-of-the-art engineering and manufacturing techniques, this rocket is designed specifically for low recurring cost.”

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