HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded the Booster Production and Operations Contract (BPOC) to Northrop Grumman of Brigham City, Utah, to build boosters for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to support nine SLS flights. Northrop Grumman, the lead booster contractor, has produced booster motors for the first three Artemis missions and is casting the motors for the fourth lunar mission.
This contract, with a value of $3.19 billion, definitizes a letter contract awarded in June 2020 that authorized Northrop Grumman to order long-lead items and build twin boosters for the next six SLS flights. The period of performance extends through Dec. 31, 2031. This includes production and operations for boosters for Artemis IV-VIII and design, development, test, and evaluation of a booster as part of Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension (BOLE) for Artemis IX.
“This contract award ensures NASA will have the most powerful solid rocket boosters ever built for future Space Launch System rockets for the Artemis missions to the Moon,” said Bruce Tiller, SLS Booster Manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “The contract allows NASA to work with Northrop Grumman to not only build the boosters for upcoming missions but also to evolve and improve the boosters for future flights.”
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — After evaluating more than 12,000 applications, NASA will introduce its 2021 astronaut candidates at 12:30 p.m. EST Monday, Dec. 6, from Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After completing training, these individuals could be eligible for a variety of flight assignments including missions on and around the Moon under Artemis.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Dust on Earth creates a nuisance in our homes and causes a few allergic sneezes. It might seem benign, but mitigating Earth’s dust has been the focus of extensive terrestrial engineering with applications from mining to food to cosmetics. On the Moon, dust creates a unique set of challenges – which will require new technology to overcome and ensure space exploration system reliability and astronaut safety. While Earth-based mitigation strategies could be foundational for lunar dust solutions, extraterrestrial dust has unique attributes that require innovative solutions.
CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — Exploration of the Moon and Mars requires the power of human imagination and vision. It also takes the power of electricity to bring science and technology to life when astronauts land and stay on the surface.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded Intuitive Machines of Houston a contract to deliver research, including science investigations and a technology demonstration, to the Moon in 2024. The commercial delivery is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative and the Artemis program.
DULLES, Va. – Nov. 16, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), is teaming up with AVL, Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Michelin to design a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to transport NASA’s Artemis astronauts around the lunar surface. This team provides multi-disciplinary expertise that is ready to deliver an innovative solution to NASA for lunar surface mobility.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — For more than 50 years, Snoopy has contributed to the excitement for NASA human spaceflight missions, helping inspire generations to dream big. NASA has shared an association with Charles M. Schulz and Snoopy since Apollo missions and continues under Artemis with new educational activities. Up next — Snoopy will ride along as the zero gravity indicator on Artemis I.
A new report from NASA’s Office of Inspector General says the agency’s plan to land two astronauts on the surface of the moon could be delayed by several years beyond the recently abandoned 2024 goal due to continuing problems in the Artemis program.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and top officials provided an update on the Artemis program on Tuesday, delivering the not unexpected news that the space agency will not meet its deadline of landing a man and the first woman of color at the south pole of the moon in 2024. Instead, the landing will be delayed until at least 2025.
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos tweeted yesterday that he accepted a court’s dismissal of the company’s challenge to NASA’s decision to award a single lunar lander contract SpaceX. He wished the space agency and rival company full success in landing two astronauts on the moon.
NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to develop the Human Landing System in April. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) rejected protests from Blue Origin and Dynetics in July. Bezos’ company subsequently appealed in court.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA was notified Thursday that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims denied Blue Origin’s bid protest, upholding NASA’s selection of SpaceX to develop and demonstrate a modern human lunar lander. NASA will resume work with SpaceX under the Option A contract as soon as possible.
In addition to this contract, NASA continues working with multiple American companies to bolster competition and commercial readiness for crewed transportation to the lunar surface. There will be forthcoming opportunities for companies to partner with NASA in establishing a long-term human presence at the Moon under the agency’s Artemis program, including a call in 2022 to U.S. industry for recurring crewed lunar landing services.
Through Artemis missions, NASA will lead the world in landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface, conduct extensive operations on and around the Moon, and get ready for human missions to Mars.
UPI reports that Federal Claims Court judge Richard Hertling has dismissed Blue Origin’s lawsuit seeking to overturn NASA’s award of a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to develop a lander to return astronauts to the lunar surface.
Hertling’s dismissal order cited a sealed opinion that he signed. The order said the court wants the parties to the lawsuit to propose redactions to the opinion by Nov. 18 so the document can be publicly released.
This dismissal was the second defeat in Blue Origin’s effort to overturn the award. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) rejected the company’s appeal in July.
Blue Origin has argued that NASA unfairly evaluated its $5.9 billion bid. The company also claimed the space agency failed to properly evaluate the risks of SpaceX’s plan to adapt its Starship vehicle to serve as the lunar lander.
Blue Origin’s lawsuit had led to a freeze in work by SpaceX and NASA on the human lander. The space agency said the work will now resume in a statement issued on Thursday.
Blue Origin has unsuccessfully campaigned for NASA to award a second contract. Company founder Jeff Bezos said the company would be willing to reduce its cost by $2 billion to make the bid more affordable.
NASA has defended its decision by saying it did not have enough funding to award two contracts and still meet a goal to return astronauts to the moon by 2024. The space agency asked for $3.2 billion to fund the lander last year, but Congress appropriated only $850 million.
NASA has funded SpaceX through development of the lander and a demonstration flight that will land two astronauts on the surface. The space agency will open competition for future missions.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected National Geographic to help tell the story of Artemis II, the first Artemis flight that will carry astronauts around the Moon and back to Earth aboard the agency’s Orion spacecraft.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Orion spacecraft is secured atop the agency’s powerful Space Launch System rocket, and the integrated system is entering the final phase of preparations for an upcoming uncrewed flight test around the Moon. The mission, known as Artemis I, will pave the way for a future flight test with crew before NASA establishes a regular cadence of more complex missions with astronauts on and around the Moon under Artemis. With stacking complete, a series of integrated tests now sit between the mega-Moon rocket and targeted liftoff for deep space in February 2022.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — International and commercial partnerships are a critical component of NASA’s long-term plans on and around the Moon under the Artemis program. The agency recently signed a new agreement with the Australian Space Agency that will further support human and robotic lunar operations for both countries.