WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — United Launch Alliance (ULA) has signed an agreement confirming Orbital ATK as the sole provider of solid rocket boosters for ULA’s Atlas V and Vulcan launch vehicles effective in 2019, the two companies announced in a statement.
"We have relied for decades on Orbital ATK’s industry leading rocket motor technology, which is ideally suited to support our future rocket launch plans," ULA’s President and CEO Tory Bruno said in the statement on Tuesday.
The deal confirms ULA’s determination not to follow a path of cooperation with Russia to provide the Russian RD-180 engine for the next generation boosters.
"With this strategic partnership, ULA and Orbital ATK will offer customers better value and reliable access to space," Orbital ATK President and CEO David Thompson said.
Development of the new solid rocket boosters will commence immediately to support their introduction on ULA’s Atlas V vehicle in late 2018 and on ULA’s Vulcan vehicle in mid-2019, the statement noted.
The new solid motor booster agreement expands the long-term relationship between ULA and Orbital ATK that already includes the supply of composite structures, nozzles, propellant tanks and booster separation motors for the current versions of Delta IV and Atlas V rockets.
In addition, ULA will supply two Atlas rockets to provide launch services for Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft on cargo delivery missions to the International Space Station for NASA in late 2015 and early 2016, according to the statement.
ULA has successfully delivered more than 95 satellites to orbit.