ULA's Vulcan rocket launches as the newest challenger to SpaceX

The brand new rocket, United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41d at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 8, 2024, for its maiden voyage, carrying Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander.

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

A new U.S. rocket reached orbit early Monday, and the launch was a big one — not just in scale of the vehicle, but also in significance for a market that has become dominated by a single player in recent years.

United Launch Alliance, or ULA, successfully launched its long-awaited inaugural Vulcan rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. The 202-foot-tall rocket successfully deployed its main payload, the Peregrine lunar cargo lander, for Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic about an hour later.

Astrobotic’s Peregrine is bound for the moon, where it will attempt a landing on Feb. 23, potentially becoming the first American spacecraft to soft land on the moon since Apollo 17 more than 50 years ago.

Under a NASA-funded program known as the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, Astrobotic’s mission represents one of six lunar launches of landers from three different companies slated for this year.

Taking on SpaceX

The United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket is transported to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 5, 2024.

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

The brand new rocket, United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41d at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 8, 2024, for its maiden voyage, carrying Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander.

Gregg Newton | AFP | Getty Images

Don’t miss these stories from CNBC PRO:

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2024/01/08/ula-vulcan-rocket-launches-newest-spacex-challenger.html

Meet Jaydon Hermann, the driving force behind Business Press Daily. As our Editor-in-Chief, Jaydon is dedicated to delivering the latest and most insightful news in the business world. With a passion for uncovering stories that matter, Jaydon leads our team in providing you with the most up-to-date and informative newsroom experience.