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United Launch Alliance announces winners for GrabCAD AM competition

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United Launch Alliance (ULA), a 50-50 joint venture between Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company providing reliable and cost-efficient access to space, named winners for its additive manufacturing GrabCAD design challenge, called 3-2-1 Liftoff! ULA Rocket Hardware Challenge. The challenge asked participants to design a launch support attachment bracket for ULA’s current Atlas V rocket. GrabCAD, a division of Stratasys, hosted the challenge. GrabCAD is a digital manufacturing hub helping designers and engineers build great products faster.

“We could not have been more pleased with the nearly 400 innovative entries we received,” said Mark Peller, ULA’s vice president of Engineering. “What could be more exciting than designing hardware that will fly on a future Atlas V rocket? In fact, the quality of the entries was so tremendous we’ve increased the first place award to $10,000.” A panel of judges, including ULA CEO and President Tory Bruno as well as additional engineers and experts from ULA and Stratasys, judged the entries.

The winners are:

In addition to the financial award, Nic Adams’ support bracket will fly on a future Atlas V mission.  It is truly an exciting time, and we are on the cusp of a space revolution,” said Bruno. “New technologies and missions we haven’t even imagined are on the horizon, and ULA is transforming the future of launch.”

grabcad-ulaInterpretation of the design space ULA provided proved to be a differentiator when reviewing the entries. The most common discriminators between submissions were edge distance, part stress, and support material.  To select the winners, ULA completed a detailed analysis on the finalist entries using ULA’s own methods and tools.

We were very impressed with the quality of work displayed, and honored to be able to judge the submissions,” said Peller. “ULA is committed to reaching the next generation of scientist and engineers, and opportunities such as this challenge are a great way to build the enthusiasm in the innovative work taking place in aerospace. This is an incredible time to be a part of the space industry!

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.


About ULA

  • ULA is a 50-50 joint venture between Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company  formed in 2006 to provide reliable, cost-efficient access to space for U.S. government missions.
  • United Launch Alliance brings together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams—Atlas and Delta—that have supported America’s presence in space for more than 50 years.
  • ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colorado.  Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located in Decatur, Alabama, and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
  • The United Launch Alliance team consists of approximately 3,400 employees working at sites across the country. Job category functions include program management, engineering, test, manufacturing, launch site operations, mission and business support.
  • Atlas and Delta expendable launch vehicles carry payloads to space ranging from weather, telecommunications and national security satellites that protect and improve life on Earth, to deep space and interplanetary exploration missions that further our knowledge of the universe.
  • Launch customers include the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. Air Force and other organizations.
  • Atlas and Delta represent more than 100 years of combined launch experience.
  • Over more than 50 years, Atlas and Delta have launched approximately 1,300 missions.


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