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Companies to build, design ‘SpaceShip’ to carry ULA’s Vulcan rockets

DECATUR – United Launch Alliance is gonna need a bigger boat.

And to meet that need, the company has hired two companies to design, oversee and build a new ship to transport its Vulcan rocket.

Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La., and Bristol Harbor Group in Bristol, R.I.,  have signed agreements with ULA to carry the Vulcan rockets from its factory in Decatur to Cape Canaveral (Fla.) Space Force Station and Vandenberg (Calif.) Space Force Base.

“We are pleased to be partnering with two of the best companies in the business to build our second transportation ship,” said Chris Ellerhorst, ULA’s vice president of the Kuiper Program. “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.”

ULA awarded Bollinger Shipyards a contract to build SpaceShip, a second roll-on/roll-off vessel classed for ocean-going and river service. Construction is underway on the 356 foot-long ship at Bollinger’s shipyard in Amelia, La., with delivery to ULA expected in January 2026. ULA’s RocketShip is 312 feet long.

“We’re proud to continue our partnership with ULA in support of their increasing capabilities and launch capacity,” said Ben Bordelon, president and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards. “Bollinger’s skilled workforce is second to none when it comes to designing, engineering and building complex vessels to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow, and we look forward to beginning work on SpaceShip to ensure delivery of Vulcan rockets from the factory to the launch pad.”

Bristol Harbor Group, a naval architecture and marine engineering firm, will oversee the design and build phases of the project.

“… 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,” said Ellerhorst.

Vulcan is ULA’s next generation rocket; its inaugural launch was in January. ULA said Vulcan will provide high performance and affordability while continuing to deliver superior reliability and orbital precision for all our customers across the national security, civil and commercial markets.

For Amazon, the Vulcan is contracted for 38 launches to support the majority of the deployment for the Project Kuiper constellation, which will provide fast, affordable broadband service around the world.

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