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Report: Pentagon to recommend approval of ULA
Posted: Sat, Mar 18, 2006, 10:15 AM ET (1515 GMT)
Delta 4 Heavy liftoff on first flight (Boeing) Top Defense Department officials have reportedly recommended that the federal government approve the formation of the United Launch Alliance, a merger of Boeing and Lockheed Martin's launch units. Reuters, citing an analyst with insight into the Pentagon approval progress, reported late Friday that top DOD officials have given the ULA "conditional backing", but plan to "aggressively manage" the joint venture. The Pentagon gave those recommendations in a meeting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where the ultimate decision to approve the ULA rests. DOD officials confirmed that they met with the FTC Friday, but declined to publicly disclose their recommendations. The ULA, announced in May 2005, would combine the government launch services units of Boeing and Lockheed, consolidating management at Lockheed's Colorado offices and manufacturing at Boeing's Alabama factory. The two companies originally expected to win regulatory approval for the ULA by the end of 2005, but have been delayed by the extended government review. Another launch company, SpaceX, has filed a lawsuit in a bid to block the ULA's creation, but their initial lawsuit was dismissed by a federal court last month.
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