Columnist Leonard David

Dueling 'Vulcan' Space Projects Prompt Rocket Name Quandary

Call it a rocket builder's Vulcan death grip.

There appears to be a bit of a row between United Launch Alliance's (ULA) just announced new Vulcan rocket and the Paul Allen Vulcan Aerospace enterprise, the big and bold Stratolaunch aircraft.

ULA launched a name-the-new rocket competition that allowed Americans to vote on their favorite name for the company's Next Generation Launch System. Over a million votes later, the Vulcan was the top choice. A reaction to that title stirred up some name calling!

A graphic depicts United Launch Alliance's new Vulcan rocket. (Image credit: ULA)

According to a report by the Reuters news service: "Vulcan is a trademark of Vulcan Inc. and we have informed ULA of our trademark rights," said Chuck Beames, president of Vulcan Aerospace, a division of Paul Allen-backed Vulcan Inc.

ULA's Vulcan is geared "to transform the future of space by making launch services more affordable and accessible," according to a ULA press statement.

Stratolaunch and Sierra Nevada Corp. are teaming up to create a launch system to propel the Dream Chaser space plane into orbit. (Image credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Vulcan Aerospace is busy building the world's largest aircraft to send rockets from the aerial platform into low Earth orbit.

May the force be with all in "Vulcanizing" the space ways!

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin's 2013 book "Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration," published by National Geographic, with a new updated paperback version to be released in May. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook and Google+

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Leonard David
Space Insider Columnist

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He has received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.