The rocket business has never been busier, and there's never been more competition.
For years, Lockheed Martin and Boeing dominated the launch business, and for the last decade, their two rocket systems—Delta and Atlas—have been married in a 50-50 joint venture called United Launch Alliance, or ULA.
ULA put all the GPS satellites into space, and it handles all U.S. military and top-secret launches.
That is about to change. In fact, everything about rockets is about to change.
As privately held SpaceX and its Falcon 9 rocket get closer to receiving U.S. Air Force certification to launch military and spy satellites, ULA is about to reveal plans for a reusable, cheaper-to-operate rocket. CNBC has learned that the new ULA rocket will use a system currently called "SMART Reuse," and more details will be revealed next month at the Space Symposium trade show.
Reusability is the holy grail of the rocket business because of its potential to slash the cost of launches. SpaceX wants to make Falcon 9 reusable, and now ULA is trying to accomplish the same feat.
ULA is asking the public to vote on what the rocket's new name will be: Eagle, Freedom or GalaxyOne (which abbreviates to "GO").