ULA begins construction on $300M expansion in Decatur

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DECATUR, Ala. – United Launch Alliance (ULA), along with partner Beyond Gravity, has begun construction on the $300 million expansion of its Decatur facility announced back in August 2022. The ground was broken on the project in October and building permits issued this week. Upon completion, the 500,000-square-foot expansion is expected to create 250 jobs.   

The expansion was necessary after ULA’s deal with Amazon, one of the largest deals in aerospace engineering in history, to build 38 rockets to put internet-delivering satellites in orbit. Beyond Gravity is already the largest rocket parts supplier in Europe and is already operating in Alabama. 

At the groundbreaking in October, ULA President and Chief Executive Officer Tory Bruno said the expansion will support “the biggest commercial contract ever awarded in history that will bring a constellation of satellites providing broadband across the planet.” 

Expected to be completed by April 2026, the expansion will add to the 2 million-square-foot ULA Decatur facility already in operation. The order of 38 rockets “is the largest commercial order that’s ever been awarded, so we’re excited about that,” said ULA Chief Operating Officer John Elbon. 

Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer is optimistic about what the expansion could mean for Cullman and its potential partnerships, stating, “Anytime a new company comes in or a company expands in our region it creates to opportunity for our industries to supply parts or our workers to have options.” 

With a total expansion investment totaling over $300 million, ULA will double its launching capabilities. The first launch of the new order is expected in 2024. 

“The launch rate is being increased significantly around the world,” said Elbon. “Space is just taking over like crazy.” 

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