Author Topic: Potential sale of ULA  (Read 183299 times)

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #460 on: 10/27/2023 03:44 pm »
Not really. Usually launch customers have the right to change their minds, and there is already an Amazon shareholder lawsuit regarding Amazon choosing ULA over SpaceX not due to best shareholder value, but because Jeff Bezos didn't want to place an order with his rival. That could remove a lot of that backlog.

The lawsuit probably is weak, but it highlights that Amazon's approach on Kuiper doesn't make sense.  It puts Kuiper at risk of cancellation.
It's a shareholder lawsuit from a large institutional investor, alleging self-dealing at the highest level. I know very little about shareholder lawsuits, but this one seems a lot more credible than many. Do you have experience with shareholder lawsuits? Is there a specialty forum or news source that discusses shareholder lawsuits?

No, I do not have professional experience with shareholder lawsuits.  It's important to recognize that publicly-traded companies like Amazon have shareholder lawsuits frequently and the vast majority of the time they go away because they settle or are thrown out by the courts.  Overall, boards of director on US companies are given wide latitude as to how to conduct their business.

But as stated above, the lawsuit does bring into focus the way Kuiper is being launched.

Offline Jim

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #461 on: 10/27/2023 06:23 pm »
Does anyone think Sierra Space and/or Dynetics-Leidos might be interested in acquiring ULA? Since they both have hardware that needs rides to orbit.

Dynetics-Leidos  doesn't have payloads

Offline deltaV

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #462 on: 10/27/2023 09:27 pm »
I for one wouldn't be surprised at all to see ULA announce a new and reusable launch vehicle less than a year after coming under new ownership.

Stages that burn out at relatively low velocity, i.e. boosters and first stage cores that don't have attached boosters, are relatively easy to reuse so it's clear that a competitive launch vehicle needs to reuse them. Other stages are harder to reuse and it's unclear whether reusing them is required to make a competitive launch vehicle. Therefore if I were ULA or a potential buyer of ULA I would look into a medium term plan to make use of Vulcan's core (with SMART) and/or upper stage without using the out of date solids. I would also make a long term plan for a fully reusable launch vehicle if that proves to be needed.

One possibility for the medium term would be to use Centaur with some ACES upgrades for reusable in-space propulsion with propellant transfer (like the Cislunar Transporter that Lockheed Martin is developing as part of Blue Origin's Artemis Lunar Lander). Another possibility would be to use Centaur as a third stage on top of Terran R to improve its performance to high energy orbits such as the NSSL GEO mission. Another possibility would be to replace Vulcan's solids with 5 Nova boosters, 2 Neutron boosters, or new boosters.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #463 on: 10/28/2023 12:04 am »
Does anyone think Sierra Space and/or Dynetics-Leidos might be interested in acquiring ULA? Since they both have hardware that needs rides to orbit.

Dynetics-Leidos  doesn't have payloads

Seem to recall they have smallsats for the SDA tranches.

Even if it is an iffy payload. The ALPACA Moon lander, if Dynetics develops it further will be cheaper in launch cost with an inhouse launcher.

Offline ZachF

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #464 on: 10/28/2023 02:44 am »
Another reason Boeing might want the money a sale would bring:

https://www.defenseone.com/business/2023/10/boeing-reports-another-huge-loss-air-force-one-program/391512/

It’s honestly just depressing now how managerially incompetent Boeing has become.
artist, so take opinions expressed above with a well-rendered grain of salt...
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #465 on: 10/28/2023 10:24 am »
I for one wouldn't be surprised at all to see ULA announce a new and reusable launch vehicle less than a year after coming under new ownership.

Stages that burn out at relatively low velocity, i.e. boosters and first stage cores that don't have attached boosters, are relatively easy to reuse so it's clear that a competitive launch vehicle needs to reuse them. Other stages are harder to reuse and it's unclear whether reusing them is required to make a competitive launch vehicle. Therefore if I were ULA or a potential buyer of ULA I would look into a medium term plan to make use of Vulcan's core (with SMART) and/or upper stage without using the out of date solids. I would also make a long term plan for a fully reusable launch vehicle if that proves to be needed.

One possibility for the medium term would be to use Centaur with some ACES upgrades for reusable in-space propulsion with propellant transfer (like the Cislunar Transporter that Lockheed Martin is developing as part of Blue Origin's Artemis Lunar Lander). Another possibility would be to use Centaur as a third stage on top of Terran R to improve its performance to high energy orbits such as the NSSL GEO mission. Another possibility would be to replace Vulcan's solids with 5 Nova boosters, 2 Neutron boosters, or new boosters.
Heavy version with SMART to recover all 3 engine pods.

There is option to repower booster with 200klbs Arroway engine from Usra Major. That would allow for booster recovery by RTLS or downrange on barge.




Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #466 on: 10/31/2023 07:13 am »
I wonder if the Pentagon is asking both Lockheed and Boeing to bid on massive new satellites that will launch on Starship. Both Lockheed and Boeing make vast amounts of money on government satellite projects. ULA was just enabling their real moneymaking business. Why does either company need ULA anymore? Satellites are where the money comes from. What do they care who launches them?
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal - Animal Farm by George Orwell

Offline Jim

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #467 on: 10/31/2023 05:32 pm »
I wonder if the Pentagon is asking both Lockheed and Boeing to bid on massive new satellites that will launch on Starship.

no, it is too early for that.   Starship is still to fluid of design, its spacecraft accommodations haven't been frozen and there are no Cape or Vandenberg launch sites.

ULA was just enabling their real moneymaking business.

Not really, they launched on other vehicles.  And see below/

Why does either company need ULA anymore?

it makes money for them.  Other other questions don't matter.

What do they care who launches them?

They don't determine which launchers are used.  Their customers that buy the spacecraft determine what launches them.


And another SpaceX supporter post on a non SpaceX thread
« Last Edit: 10/31/2023 05:33 pm by Jim »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #468 on: 11/14/2023 04:53 pm »
https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1724480618275242189

Quote
The sale of ULA is nearing its conclusion, sources say. New article:

https://arstechnica.com/space/2023/11/sale-of-united-launch-alliance-is-nearing-its-end-with-three-potential-buyers/

Quote
Sale of United Launch Alliance is nearing its end, with three potential buyers
The sale would still have to be approved by the Federal Trade Commission.

by Eric Berger - Nov 14, 2023 5:09pm GMT

Lockheed Martin and Boeing are close to selecting a buyer for United Launch Alliance, two sources told Ars. The jointly owned rocket company, which was founded in 2006 and for a time had a monopoly on US government launch contracts, has been up for sale most of this year.

The sources say three buyers have emerged for the Colorado-based launch company. These include a private equity fund, the Jeff Bezos-owned space company Blue Origin, and a well-capitalized aerospace firm that is interested in increasing its space portfolio.

Online abaddon

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #469 on: 11/14/2023 05:27 pm »
Sounds like "nearing its conclusion", while technically true, doesn't really mean "is near a conclusion", when "a buyer could be announced within a couple of months" and then regulatory approval would follow.  This gives ample time for Vulcan to demonstrate a successful inaugural launch campaign, which I would have to think the interested parties are wanting to see before signing on the dotted line.

If this report is accurate, it would appear Lockheed is in fact not in play buying out Boeing to become sole owner as an option.

Unnamed private equity fund, Blue Origin, and unnamed more-aero-than-space company.  Any theories who that last one might be?  Throwing a dart at a board, maybe Honeywell?  Raytheon might be another guess, but they have an extensive space portfolio and government contracts to match.  L3Harris - who just purchased AJR - might be another possibility, maybe they are looking to consolidate and expand their space portfolio and vertically integrate the in-space propulsion elements from AJR.

Motley Fool estimates ULA to be worth between $1.2 billion to as high as $7.2 billion, saying "LA is a private company, however, and keeps most of its numbers private, making it difficult to figure out how much ULA might be worth."  Fair.  That and presumed US-only bidding should narrow down the possibilities some more.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2023 05:48 pm by abaddon »

Offline deltaV

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #470 on: 11/14/2023 07:17 pm »
If Blue Origin buys ULA that would reduce the number of known competitors for National Security Space Launch (NSSL) from 3 (i.e. Blue, ULA, and SpaceX) to 2. The DOD likes 2+ redundant suppliers so ULA's CEO's remark that "It's not competition if everybody wins" would apply even more strongly after such a merger than it does today. Maybe someone else will compete for NSSL such as Relativity but if I were the FTC or DOJ looking at anti-trust I might not approve Blue buying ULA. That said a merger of ULA and Blue might open up some cool possibilities such as using Centaur V as a third stage for New Glenn or using SMART tech to reuse New Glenn's second stage.

If the buyer is anyone other than Blue Origin (or SpaceX) I don't see any significant anti-trust issues. But I'm NOT a lawyer.

Offline Jim

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #471 on: 11/14/2023 07:46 pm »

If this report is accurate, it would appear Lockheed is in fact not in play buying out Boeing to become sole owner as an option.

Unnamed private equity fund, Blue Origin, and unnamed more-aero-than-space company.  A


What says Lockheed is not in play?  How are they not a " more-aero-than-space company"?

Offline Athelstane

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #472 on: 11/14/2023 08:22 pm »
Berger let slip another clue about the identity of the third entity in the combox under the article:

Q: L3Harris is the third potential buyer?
Berger: They already have a significant space business.

So, I suppose we should be ruling out L3Harris, at any rate.

Offline deltaV

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #473 on: 11/14/2023 08:42 pm »

If this report is accurate, it would appear Lockheed is in fact not in play buying out Boeing to become sole owner as an option.

Unnamed private equity fund, Blue Origin, and unnamed more-aero-than-space company.  A


What says Lockheed is not in play?  How are they not a " more-aero-than-space company"?

Berger's article describes the third bidder as "This aerospace company does not have a large amount of space business presently, but it has been looking to make strategic expansion into government contracts". The word "into" rather than "in" suggests that the third bidder does not currently have many government contracts, but Lockheed is the biggest US government contractor there is with $48.7B of contracts in 2019 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_100_Contractors_of_the_U.S._federal_government). Lockheed even has billions of dollars per year of projects that check both the "space" and "government contract" boxes simultaneously - Orion alone is $1.4B/year, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_Space#Lines_of_business for dozens of other major projects. So unless Berger is being purposefully misleading, misspoke, or is misinformed I don't think Lockheed is one of the bidders.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2023 08:49 pm by deltaV »

Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #474 on: 11/14/2023 11:04 pm »
Does GE have any major space business? I don't generally think of them as an aviation-firm, but they definitely are.
To my knowledge, General Dynamics doesn't have any space business these days.
Honeywell seem like the best guess so far to me.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Online edkyle99

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #475 on: 11/14/2023 11:20 pm »
Northrop Grumman maybe.  They have a space business, but it is small potatoes compared to the NSSL winners.  They competed for NSSL, but lost.  Now a chance to buy their way in?

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 11/14/2023 11:24 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #476 on: 11/14/2023 11:55 pm »

If this report is accurate, it would appear Lockheed is in fact not in play buying out Boeing to become sole owner as an option.

Unnamed private equity fund, Blue Origin, and unnamed more-aero-than-space company.  A


What says Lockheed is not in play?  How are they not a " more-aero-than-space company"?

Berger's article describes the third bidder as "This aerospace company does not have a large amount of space business presently, but it has been looking to make strategic expansion into government contracts". The word "into" rather than "in" suggests that the third bidder does not currently have many government contracts, but Lockheed is the biggest US government contractor there is with $48.7B of contracts in 2019 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_100_Contractors_of_the_U.S._federal_government). Lockheed even has billions of dollars per year of projects that check both the "space" and "government contract" boxes simultaneously - Orion alone is $1.4B/year, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_Space#Lines_of_business for dozens of other major projects. So unless Berger is being purposefully misleading, misspoke, or is misinformed I don't think Lockheed is one of the bidders.

RTX

Offline Hyperborealis

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #477 on: 11/15/2023 12:00 am »
Stock symbol for Raytheon.

Offline sdsds

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #478 on: 11/15/2023 12:18 am »
"The company, which changed its name to RTX in July 2023, has three subsidiaries: Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, and Raytheon." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTX_Corporation

Alternately, GE Aerospace fits Berger's description of an, "aerospace company [that] does not have a large amount of space business presently."
— 𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬 —

Offline Comga

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Re: Potential sale of ULA
« Reply #479 on: 11/15/2023 01:15 am »
What about BAE, the corporation buying Ball Aerospace from parent Ball Corporation?
They have or are a US corporation, at least since purchasing the NH operations of Lockheed Martin that started as Sanders Associates, which included a lot of classified defense work.
The purchase of Ball Aerospace demonstrates an interest in further expansion into government contracts and statements have been made supporting getting into planetary science work.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

 

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