DENVER, Jan. 29, 2008 -- United Launch Alliance today announced the restructuring of the Delta II program, building upon its unparalleled record of mission success to make it more cost effective in a challenging market. Delta II's mission success record currently stands at 78 consecutive launches, one of the best records in launch industry history.
The near-term future environment for Delta II-class missions, also known as the medium-lift market, is characterized by lower launch rates starting in 2009. The U.S. Air Force's GPS program flies its final mission on Delta II at the end of 2008, and NASA science missions have been reduced. Both customers have been significant users of Delta II launch services during the last 15 years.
"Contrary to some public reports, ULA is not backing away from Delta II because of the reduced market," said Michael Gass, president and chief executive officer of United Launch Alliance. "We are working to operate more efficiently at lower launch rates so that when the current market rebounds we will remain positioned to offer high reliability and competitively priced launch products to support the market needs."
ULA continues to offer the Delta II to U.S. government customers, and Boeing Launch Services (BLS) continues to market Delta II to commercial companies, with 16 launches planned through 2010. As part of the new plan, ULA appointed Rick Navarro as its Delta II program director. Navarro is responsible for implementing the restructure, executing the busy 2008 manifest and ensuring ULA remains at the forefront of the medium-lift market in the future. Navarro previously served as Delta director of launch operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The current Delta II environment includes a busy launch manifest with eight flights this year from both coasts, including Air Force, NASA and BLS commercial customers. The first 2008 Delta II launch is a GPS mission from CCAFS currently scheduled for Mar. 13. In 2007, ULA successfully moved the Delta II program from Southern California to Denver, Colo., while completing nine launches.
The restructuring activity focuses on maintaining a 100 percent mission success record during the coming years while reducing the program's facilities footprint and leveraging the synergies created as ULA consolidates its Delta and Atlas programs.
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo., supported by transition employees in Huntington Beach, Calif. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located in Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Tex., San Diego, Calif., and Denver, Colo. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.