Thursday, United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced a $300 million expansion project that the rocket manufacturer will undertake at its Decatur plant.
According to WHNT News 19, the 500,000-square-foot expansion was planned due to its agreement with Amazon.com to utilize ULA’s Vulcan rocket for 38 launches in a global broadband deployment mission. The first launch is expected to be conducted in 2024.
ULA chief operating officer John Elbon advised that Amazon’s order was the largest order the rocket manufacturer had ever been awarded.
“This is the largest commercial order that’s ever been awarded, so we’re excited about that. The opportunity for growth beyond what we’re talking about today is significant,” the outlet quoted Elbon as saying.
Elbon, who noted that the expansion would create an estimated 250 jobs, praised the partnership ULA holds with local leadership.
“Decatur has been a great partner. The city, the county has been a great partner, and you know, we build the most successful rockets in the world,” added Elbon. “They’re built by the best manufacturers in the world, and Decatur is home to that.”
According to the outlet, ULA’s expansion will enable to company to eventually double its launch rate. To date, ULA holds an unblemished mission success rate.
“The launch rate is being increased significantly around the world,” said Elbon. “Space is just taking over like crazy.”
Beyond Gravity, a partner of ULA’s, will also expand operations to the Decatur facility. WHNT News 19 reported that ULA plans to construct additional warehouses at the site to store rocket parts.
The expansion is projected to be completed by April 2026.
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL