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  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  [SLS] Booster production and operations

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Author Topic:   [SLS] Booster production and operations
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 47481
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-02-2021 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Awards Artemis Contract for Future Mega Moon Rocket Boosters

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.

Above: Technicians at Northrop Grumman's factory in Promontory, Utah, lift one of the first booster motors cast for the Artemis IV mission. All 10 Artemis II booster motors are complete and ready for transportation by train to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they will be stacked with other booster components being outfitted at Kennedy. All 10 segments for Artemis III have been cast with propellant.

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."

The twin solid rocket boosters, which are mounted on the side of the SLS core stage, will produce more than 75% of the thrust for each SLS launch. The boosters were based on the design of the space shuttle solid rocket boosters but include a fifth segment to produce the extra power needed to send the larger SLS rocket to space. As part of this contract, the team also will design and test evolved boosters needed for flights starting with the ninth SLS mission. The new BOLE boosters will replace the steel cases currently used from the space shuttle with a stronger composite case and upgraded structures, electronic thrust vector control systems and propellant materials.

"Our boosters are ready to launch the first flight of the Space Launch System on the Artemis I mission, and we are making great progress producing boosters for the Artemis II, III, and IV missions," said Tiller. "Upgrading the booster's performance ensures we can improve SLS's ability to send astronauts and cargo to the Moon as well as making our processes more efficient."

The SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft are part of NASA's backbone for deep space exploration. Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the surface of the Moon and establish a long-term lunar presence that serves as a steppingstone on the way to Mars.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 47481
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-02-2021 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Northrop Grumman release
Northrop Grumman Awarded NASA Booster Production and Operations Contract to Support Artemis Program

NASA awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a booster production and operations contract valued up to $3.19 billion to support the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket through 2031. The award includes follow-on production and flight sets for Artemis IV through Artemis VIII, as well as production of the Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension (BOLE) boosters for Artemis IX.

Above: The completed Space Launch System rocket, with twin Northrop Grumman solid rocket boosters, awaits the first Artemis program launch. (NASA)

The award supports the design, development and testing of the next generation five-segment solid rocket boosters to supplement and replace the eight remaining reusable Space Shuttle Program-era assets. The new BOLE boosters will replace the steel cases used for the shuttle with a weight-saving composite case and upgraded structures, electronic thrust vector control systems and propellant materials to address obsolescence. This improved design additionally provides process simplification, improved interface, and streamlined ground processing at Kennedy Space Center, leading to greater productivity and efficiency.

"BOLE leverages our previous investments and existing infrastructures in SLS and supports long-term sustainability of NASA's exploration programs," said Wendy Williams, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. "This new booster design will provide additional heavy lift performance and support greater payload volume for deep space human and science missions."

Above: The first BOLE case in winding at the Northrop Grumman Promontory, Utah, facility. (Northrop Grumman)

Artemis II booster production is complete and segments await transportation to Kennedy Space Center upon NASA's request. All ten segments for Artemis III have been cast with propellant, and Artemis IV segments began casting in November. The first composite BOLE booster segment case to be used for development testing completed winding in October.

Northrop Grumman has been awarded multiple contracts to support NASA's Artemis program including the abort motor and attitude control motor for the Orion spacecraft's launch abort system, designed to ensure astronaut safety during launch and ascent, atop the SLS rocket. The company is also providing the Habitation and Logistics Outpost module for NASA's Lunar Gateway, and was recently awarded a contract to develop Lunar lander concepts under NASA's NEXTStep-2 Appendix N contract.

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