Since ULA’s first intern rocket launch in 2008, it has provided valuable learning experience to aspiring engineers and rocket scientists from elementary school through graduate school. The program has – literally – taken hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to new heights.

Highlights from the program’s history include:

Three rockets launched 17 payloads in 2015. The 25-foot-tall “Future” carried 14 payloads; “Stars ‘N’ Stripes,” a 20-foot tall rocket, carried two payloads; and the “Genesis,” at 10 feet tall, deployed a single payload. Watch the 2015 launch highlights video.

Three rockets, including the 25-foot–tall Future, launched 18 payloads from students in Colorado, Ohio and Alabama. Watch the 2014 launch highlights.

Three rockets, including the 25-foot-tall Future, launched more than a dozen payloads up to 9,000 feet above the ground at the launch event outside of Pueblo, Colo. Watch the 2013 launch highlights video.

The Stars ‘N’ Stripes intern rocket also launched at the Rocky Mountain Air Show, the first Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-sanctioned sport rocket launch at an air show.

Four rockets, including the 25-foot-tall Future, launched more than a dozen payloads up to 9,000 feet above the ground.  Interns at ULA locations across the country began building the Future Heavy rocket, which is scheduled to launch in 2016 or 2017.

Several rockets, including the 25-foot-tall Future, launched more than a dozen payloads up to 9,000 feet above the ground.

The Future rocket made its debut as one of several rockets launched at the event.  The Future – 25 feet tall and the largest rocket to launch from Colorado – has three N-class engines and launched up to 9,000 feet above the ground.

Several rockets, the largest standing 20 feet tall with an N-class engine, launched to up to 5,000 feet above the ground.

A single rocket, standing 16 feet tall, was launched to 3,300 feet above the ground.


Tyler Maddox | 2010-11 Intern Rocket Crew

For the intern rocket project, I was able to help construct our 25 foot L3 rocket. How many people you meet can say they launched something that powerful? It definitely was a great way to spend our free time after work as it gave us an opportunity to apply our skills outside the office. From design to launch, we were involved in every step just as ULA is with production to launch.

Tammy Cottam | 2010 Intern Rocket Crew

The intern rocket program is what made my summer internship at United Launch Alliance so unique. At ULA, not only was I provided with a challenging work assignment, but in the evenings I had the opportunity to work with my fellow interns on an exciting hands-on project. Over the summer, we built two rockets, one of which towered at 25 feet. Interns worked together on everything from composites to drilling and painting. The evenings were certainly plenty of hard work, but it was fun to spend time working with the other interns and learning from mentors who helped us with the project. By the end of the summer, it was extremely rewarding to watch the rocket we built fly. I can't wait to see what the interns next summer build!

Danielle Gilbert | 2008-10 Intern Rocket Crew

I have had the opportunity to be involved with the intern rocket project for several years now, participating in the project in various capacities. The energy of the interns and hundreds of spectators as the rocket is prepared for launch is the most indescribable feeling. The moment when the words, “We have lift off of the United Launch Alliance Future rocket” are said over the PA system makes me know that I have chosen the perfect career path, with an outstanding company. I encourage any intern or recent college graduate to get involved with the program as soon as they can as it is really a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Josh Bogie | 2008-09 Intern Rocket Crew

I have had a blast participating in the intern rocket program. Regardless of experience, you can work on any part of the rocket and watch the whole thing come together over a summer. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of standing next to the rocket that you helped create on the launch pad, and then watching it launch. How many people get to hang out with their friends after work and build 25-foot-tall rockets?