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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

ULA Orders Rocket Transport Ship from Bollinger

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 8, 2024

Rendering of United Launch Alliance's SpaceShip. (Image: United Launch Alliance)

Rendering of United Launch Alliance's SpaceShip. (Image: United Launch Alliance)

American aerospace manufacturer ULA on Wednesday announced it has ordered a new ship to transport rockets from its factory in Decatur, Ala. to launch sites at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

ULA said it awarded a contract to build the 356-foot-long roll-on/roll-off vessel to Bollinger Shipyards, who recently started constructing the new ship at its shipyard in Amelia, La. The company has also hired naval architecture and marine engineering firm Bristol Harbor Group, Inc. to oversee the project's design and build phases.

Scheduled for delivery in January 2026, the new Jones Act compliant vessel will be the second in the ULA fleet and comes amid increased demand for ULA’s next generation Vulcan rocket, according to Chris Ellerhorst, ULA’s vice president of the Kuiper Program.

“ULA currently has its first ship called RocketShip that has been in service for decades, and with this second ship called SpaceShip, our maritime fleet will enable enterprise transportation capacity of four Vulcan launch vehicles across two voyages to either the East or West Coast,” Ellerhorst said.

“Over the next year, ULA will be doubling its launch rate capacity in support of our Amazon customer and to ensure timely deliveries of the rockets to the launch site, we needed to build a second ship to support our transportation needs,” Ellerhorst said.

For Amazon, ULA’s Vulcan rocket is contracted for 38 launches to support the majority of the deployment for the Project Kuiper constellation, which will provide broadband service to unserved and underserved communities around the world.