A new order worth $ 1.79 billion requires California-based aerospace company Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide 18 RS-25 engines for future SLS missiles. The agreement is based on an existing agreement between NASA and Aerojet on six SLS engines. According to NASA representatives, this new order raises the cost of the final contract to about $ 3.5 billion by 2029.
“This contract allows NASA to collaborate with Aerojet Rocketdyne to create the rocket engines needed for future missions,” said NASA SLA Program Manager John Hanikatt at the Space Flight Center. Marshall in Huntsville.
Each SLS rocket will use four RS-25 rocket engines to launch its 65-meter first stage. The rocket will also use two monophonic rocket boosters and an upper stage to launch an Orion crew capsule. The Artemis program will use SLS and Orion to return astronauts to the moon by 2024.
NASA currently has 16 engines (saved from the agency’s now-retired space shuttle program) that will be used in the first four SLS rocket launches for Artemis missions 1 through 4. These engines will assist Artemis’s first moon landing with crew ( Artemis 3) and the subsequent flight.
NASA’s Artemis 1 mission is expected to begin in 2021. The engines for this flight are installed at the SLS base stage and are awaiting serious tests at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. This work has been suspended since March due to the ongoing pandemic of the coronavirus.
The new agreement with Aerojet Rocketdyne will add another 24 SLS engines to the Artemis program, which is enough for another six flights.
“We have already begun production of the first six new RS-25 engines,” said Johnny Heflin, SLS engine manager in the same statement. “Aerojet Rocketdyne has restarted production lines, created a supplier base and engine production using advanced technologies that reduce both the cost and the manufacturing time of each engine.”
Four RSS SLS rocket engines provide a total of 900 tons of thrust during launch to launch the Orion capsule into orbit. NASA officials said the engines left after the space shuttle program were refitted with new computer controllers and upgraded to cope with higher performance requirements when launching SLS.
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