Centennial, Colo. (Sept. 28, 2016) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to begin the certification process for the company’s new Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle.

“Our Vulcan Centaur rocket will revolutionize spaceflight and provide affordable, reliable access to space,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. “We look forward to collaboratively working through the certification process with the Air Force.”

The Vulcan Centaur rocket design leverages the proven success and the Delta IV and Atlas V launch vehicles, while introducing innovative new technologies and features. This high-capable new rocket will serve a diverse range of market including commercial, civil and national security space customers.

“The certification process provides a path for launch-service providers to demonstrate the capability to design, produce, qualify, and deliver a new launch system and provide the mission assurance support required to deliver NSS satellites to orbit,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space and Space and Missile Systems Center commander.  “This process ensures that we continue to have assured access to space.”

ULA’s new launch vehicle will feature a 5.4-meter-diameter first stage booster, either a 4- or 5-meter fairing, and up to six Orbital ATK solid rocket motors. In addition, the Vulcan Centaur will fly with a pair of Blue Origin BE-4 main engine as our primary path or the Aerojet Rocketdyne AR-1 as our backup option.

"The new rocket will offer greater performance than our current fleet of rockets at less than half the historical prices for our customers," said Bruno.

The ULA team completed the vehicle’s Preliminary Design Review in July of this year, and is on schedule to fly the inaugural flight test of the Vulcan Centaur in 2019.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 110 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.