Atlas 5 rocket cores

WASHINGTON — Launch services provider United Launch Alliance said June 30 it has eliminated 350 jobs, reducing its workforce by more than 10 percent.

ULA, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture that builds and operates the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets,employed  roughly 3,400 people throughout the United States prior to the job cuts.

Jessica Rye, a ULA spokeswoman, told SpaceNews that  110 people were laid off and 240 accepted voluntary separations.  The company said in April it planned to eliminate some 375 jobs this year,  largely through voluntary separations.

“United Launch Alliance continues to transform our company while we maintain our focus on providing cost-effective solutions for our customers,” Rye said. “We will continue to monitor business needs and skill levels and, if needed, targeted reductions in certain areas may be necessary.”

The job cuts hit ULA’s Denver-area headquarters as well as rocket production sites in Alabama and Texas and launch sites in Florida and California.

Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO, has said a second round of job cuts of between 400-500 jobs is planned for 2017.

ULA is facing competition from SpaceX for national security and civil launches. At the same time, many of the Defense Department’s major satellite programs are nearing full on-orbit deployment, which likely means fewer launch opportunities for the industry.

ULA is counting on the next-generation Vulcan rocket it is developing with a mix of Air Force and corporate money to achieve a $100 million-per-launch price point.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.