Washington-DC - U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet today announced that NASA selected United Launch Services of Littleton, Colorado for the launch of four missions, totaling about $600 million. The contract includes the launch of two Science Mission Directorate and two Space Operations Missions Directorate payloads.
"Colorado is second in the nation in private aerospace employment," said Udall. "This contract emphasizes how important this is to Colorado's economy and creating jobs along with continuing to be a growing sector in our state."
"This recognition of United Launch Services is reflective of Colorado's innovative, cutting edge and tech-savvy businesses," said Bennet. "It will give a good economic boost to Littleton and Colorado at a time when our families need it most. I applaud the hard work and ingenuity of ULS."
The four payloads are the Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission, the Magnetospheric
Multiscale mission, and the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites K and L, or TDRS-K and TDRS-L, missions.
- The Radiation Belt mission will study the radiation belts surrounding Earth for two years so that NASA can improve its understanding of how the sun's changing energy glow affects them. This launch is planned for 2011.
- Two new Tracking and Data Relay satellites will be launched to replenish the NASA communications relay network that provides voice, data, video and telemetry links between spacecraft below geosynchronous orbit and the ground. Among the major users of the relay network are the International Space Station and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. These launches are planned for 2012 and 2013.
- The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission is a NASA space physics research effort to discover the fundamental plasma physics processes of magnetic reconnection that occurs when energy emanating from the sun's solar wind interacts with the Earth's magnetic field. Four identical satellites will be launched together in a stacked configuration. They will fly in an elliptical orbit around Earth. This launch is planned for 2014.
United Launch Services, LLC (ULS) is a subsidiary of United Launch Alliance, LLC. For more information on ULS and ULA, please click here.