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Buyers emerge for ULA

November 16, 2023

The United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint-venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin (L-M), is up for sale. The rocket builder now has potential bidders emerging.

The three names currently being reported on include a private equity business, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin rocket company and an unnamed aerospace firm which is said to be well-capitalised.

The purchase would have to pass muster with various US government agencies because of the frequent military cargoes that ULA must carry into space.

The sale of ULA is reportedly close to a decision and could happen within a couple of months. The announcement of a sale was made in March. ULA was created in 2006 through a merger of Boeing’s Delta rocket division and Lockheed Martin’s Atlas launcher rocket family. Since then, ULA has been a profitable enterprise for the two aerospace giants, helped by regular military launch contracts and large subsidies from the US Department of Defense.

The Bezos interest is logical in that his Blue Origin business is building the powerful Vulcan BE-4 rocket engines for ULA and designed to be a more financially attractive solution than the Elon Musk suite of Raptor engines.

However, both Boeing and L-M are silent as to the progress. “In general, it is our company practice not to comment on market rumours or speculation,” a Lockheed spokesperson said.

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