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Boeing wins Air Force launch contract
Posted: Sat, Nov 18, 2006, 4:23 PM ET (2123 GMT)
Delta 4 launch of GOES-N (NASA/KSC) The Air Force awarded Boeing late Friday an EELV launch contract valued at $674 million, a move that clears away one of the final hurdles for the formation of the United Launch Alliance (ULA). The contract, part of EELV Buy 3, covers Delta 4 launches and operations from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Air Force has previously negotiated a similar contract with Lockheed Martin in March. Finalizing the contract is seen as removing one of the final obstacles for the formation of the ULA, the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture announced in May 2005 but delayed by a lengthy government approval process. The Federal Trade Commission issued a preliminary consent decree for ULA last month, and received comments from only two companies, Northrop Grumman and SpaceX, about the agreement. Neither government nor company officials have given an estimate regarding when the ULA deal will finally close.
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