Company History

More than 100 years of combined launch history

On May 2, 2005, The Boeing Company and the Lockheed Martin Corporation announced their intention to form a joint venture called the United Launch Alliance (ULA), combining the production, engineering, test and launch operations associated with U.S. government launches of Boeing Delta and Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets - providing world-class space launch services for the U.S. government at lower cost.


Built on a heritage of sequential enhancements to the Atlas I, II and III families, and developed in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, the Atlas V provides a single system that can accommodate medium-lift to heavy-lift missions for U.S. government and commercial launch customers. The continuous improvement approach builds on flight-proven components and previous configurations, including the Centaur upper stage flown on Atlas and Titan vehicles since the 1960s and the RD-180 main engine, which first flew on the Atlas III. The Atlas I, II and III families are now retired.


Delta rockets have been built and launched since 1960. Delta’s origins go back to the Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was developed in the mid-1950s for the U.S. Air Force. The Thor, a single-stage, liquid-fueled rocket, was modified to become the Delta launch vehicle, which later evolved into the Delta II.  Delta IV was developed in partnership with the U.S. Air Force EELV program and is the most advanced family of Delta rockets. Delta IV blends advanced and proven technology to launch virtually any size medium-to-heavy class payload to space.