“The priorities of all of our customers include ensuring their spacecraft launches on schedule, securing the soonest possible manifest date and completing the mission with 100 percent success,” said Tory Bruno, ULA CEO and president. “To address these priorities, we have been working on this offering for more than a year, which allows our customers to launch in as few as three months from placing their order.”
RapidLaunch™ is designed to transform the nature of launch acquisition, contracting, and integration. More importantly, it provides the power to transform satellite operators’ fleet management and operations.
“We have availability on our Atlas V manifest in 2017,” said Kent Lietzau, ULA’s vice president of Business Development. “This service is fast and comprehensive. Our experience base launching all major platforms means confidence for your mission.”
This is one way to spin a manifest with less demand (from government) than previous years. Nonetheless, it’s a good way to reach out to the commercial side of the market and let them know that ULA can support them, as well.
The last 4 years (2013–2016), ULA has launched between 8 and 10 Atlas V missions. Next year, they’ve got about 7 on the books, with one being a Starliner flight (which may get pushed). This lines up with the drop in government launches that they’ve been talking about.
If they had planned for 8–10 launches as is typical, they’ve got some extra hardware and time on their hands. Might as well sell that to the commercial market, especially when the marketing angle “expensive, but quick, with schedule reliability” has a little more strength than it might typically.