United Launch Alliance Kicks Off Additive Manufacturing Challenge

September 26, 2016 – United Launch Alliance (ULA) kicked off the 3-2-1 Liftoff! ULA Rocket Hardware Challenge via GrabCAD Community Challenges, inviting participants to design a launch support attachment bracket for ULA’s current Atlas V rocket. The design will subsequently be evaluated for application on ULA’s next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket.

“We are transforming the future of space launch, and additive manufacturing is one of the innovative techniques we’re using to make space more affordable, accessible and commercialized,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO. “The ULA Rocket Hardware Challenge invites people familiar with the industry and new to aerospace to participate in that transformation – the opportunity to design rocket hardware that will deliver critical technologies to orbit.”

Participants will design a support bracket used during ground processing at the base of the Atlas V payload fairing. It is used at numerous locations around the vehicle’s Centaur upper stage, acting as a support point for work platforms on the days leading up to launch. The bracket remains with the upper stage of the rocket during flight.

Full details are available at:


The deadline to submit is October 23, 2016, at 2359 UTC (5:59 p.m. EDT).

ULA will recognize the top three designs. Judges include Bruno as well as additional engineers and experts from ULA and Stratasys.

GrabCAD, a division of Stratasys, is a digital manufacturing hub helping designers and engineers build great products faster.