United Launch Alliance Wants Your Vote to Name New Rocket

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket launches a GPS satellite to orbit on March 25, 2015. ULA representatives are now asking people around the world to vote for their favorite name for the company's new rocket.
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket launches a GPS satellite to orbit on March 25, 2015. ULA representatives are now asking people around the world to vote for their favorite name for the company's new rocket. (Image credit: United Launch Alliance)

Here's your chance to name a rocket.

United Launch Alliance — the rocket company that launched NASA's New Horizons probe to Pluto — is asking people around the world to help name a new kind of booster. People have until April 6 to vote on three names — Eagle, Freedom or GalaxyOne — for the ULA rocket that the company plans to use for most of its future launches.

The three names are finalists from more than 400 suggestions submitted by ULA employees and space enthusiasts earlier this year. The rocket's first flight is planned for 2019.

"ULA's new rocket represents the future of space — innovative, affordable and reliable," Tory Bruno, ULA's president and CEO, said in a statement. "More possibilities in space means more possibilities here on Earth. This is such a critical time for space travel and exploration and we’re excited to bring all of America with us on this journey into the future."

Boeing and Lockheed Martin's government launch services businesses merged in 2006 to create ULA. The joint venture currently does all U.S. military launches.

Private company SpaceX launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force regarding the sole-source contract as SpaceX looks to break into the market with its Falcon 9 rocket. The lawsuit was later settled and SpaceX will compete with ULA for the next round of military launches.

As U.S. tensions with Russia mounted last year, ULA received criticism for its RD-180 Atlas V rocket engine that is manufactured in Russia. Congress has imposed a ban on the engine's use by 2019, according to the Washington Post.

Notable launches for ULA include NASA's Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity Mars rover missions; ULA also put all 57 GPS satellites orbiting Earth today into space. The company says it has a 100 percent success rate for the past 94 launches.

Votes for the new rocket can be submitted online at this website: https://www.polleverywhere.com/voteula. Alternatively, voters can text 22333 to do their votes using the following keys: ULA1 for "Eagle," ULA2 for "Freedom" or ULA3 for "GalaxyOne." Text messaging fees may apply.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace