U.S. Approves Joint Rocket Venture

Antitrust regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave the green light this week to the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a $1.06 billion plan by Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. to merge their rocket building and launch operations.

Under the agreement, Boeing’s Delta rockets and Lockheed’s Atlas rockets will be manufactured at Boeing’s Decatur, AL facility, while Lockheed’s Denver office will serve as ULA headquarters for administrative and engineering operations.

While approval by government regulators is seen as the final hurdle for the massive consolidation, the announcement did not include a timetable for starting or concluding the merger. According to news reports, the ULA deal could bring an additional 250 jobs to the Decatur, AL facility from Lockheed’s rocket production plant in Denver. Launch facilities with IAM members in Cape Canaveral, FL and Vandenberg AFB in California will also be impacted.

“We will be meeting with local IAM representatives and officials of both companies to ensure a smooth transition for our current and future members,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinators Dick Schneider and John Crowdis.