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WAAY 31 got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to build a rocket. United Launch Alliance, the joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, will send up a brand new rocket in 2021.
United Launch Alliance describes the Vulcan Centaur rocket as lighter, more powerful and more cost effective. Representatives of north Alabama toured the various stages of the rocket's assembly Wednesday morning. A ribbon was cut to commemorate the new addition to the ULA plant.
"We see this as an ongoing partnership, and we're thrilled to be at this stage where we're starting off the manufacturing phase of the program," Terry Berglin, the director of business development with Par Systems, said. ULA tapped Par Systems to supply their new friction stir welders.
"So stronger weld means we can make the panels thinner, which makes the vehicle lighter. So, instead of the rocket having to lift a heavier tank, it can lift a heavier payload," said ULA vice president of major development, Mark Peller.
As ULA ramps up to full production, Peller says they plan to produce between 10 and 20 Vulcan Centaur rockets each year.