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DENVER-The Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin are forming a joint venture, United Launch Alliance, which will be headquartered in Lockheed Martin’s massive Waterton Canyon facility nestled within thousands of acres along the Hogback in Jefferson County.

The new venture is expected to create a net number of new jobs locally, even though there will be some cutbacks because of duplicative jobs. Politicians and economic officials were thrilled with the news. Gov. Bill Owens says he expects the venture will create hundreds of new direct and indirect jobs. He notes that he has long been a supporter of increasing aerospace jobs in the state.

US Sen. Ken Salazar also was pleased, noting that Lockheed Martin and its predecessor companies have had a long presence in Colorado. “For more than 50 year, Lockheed Martin has contributed to Colorado’s economy and community,” Salazar says.

The joint venture will combine the production, engineering, test and launch operations associated with US government launches of Boeing Delta and Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets. The companies say United Launch Alliance will reduce the cost of meeting the critical national security and NASA expendable launch vehicle needs of the United States.

“It has become increasingly clear that an alliance of launch capabilities is essential to meet the space communications, surveillance and reconnaissance needs of the 21st century, and to assure access to space,” says Robert J. Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s chairman, president and CEO. “This combination will permit our national customers to achieve their mission objectives while reflecting current budget pressures and providing the government with full cost visibility.”

James A. Bell, Boeing president, CEO and CFO, notes that, “both of our companies have developed versions of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle in collaboration with the Air Force and have flown them successfully.”

United Launch Alliance will be structured as a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin–combining services currently provided separately by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems’ Expendable Launch Systems division and by Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems Company–for launches of each company’s respective rockets. Based upon initial estimates, annual savings to the government resulting from the combination are expected to be approximately $100 million to $150 million.

In addition to the headquarters, most engineering and administrative activities will be consolidated at the existing Lockheed Martin Systems facility at Waterton Canyon. United Launch Alliance is expected to have about 3,800 total employees at sites in Colorado, Alabama, Florida, California and Texas. The companies expect that the consolidation eventually will result in the elimination of an undetermined number of positions.

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