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United Launch Alliance wins preliminary approval
Posted: Mon, Jan 9, 2006, 6:46 AM ET (1146 GMT)
Atlas 5 launch of Hellas Sat (ILS) Defense Department officials have given preliminary approval to the proposed merger of Boeing and Lockheed Martin's government launch operations, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. According to the article, top Pentagon officials have decided to recommend the creation of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) to the Federal Trade Commission, which is evaluating the proposed merger. The FTC is to expected to issue a final ruling on the merger for weeks, but is expected to follow the Pentagon's recommendation. Boeing and Lockheed announced the ULA in May 2005, claiming that by combining their launch operations they would be able to save the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars. The two companies had hoped to win final approval for the ULA by the end of 2005, but requests for further information by the FTC and the Pentagon have delayed their approval. The deal still faces a lawsuit by a rival launch company, SpaceX, which believes the ULA will be anti-competitive.
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