Published: Wed, September 25, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NASA Hires Lockheed Martin to Build up to 12 Orion Spacecraft

NASA Hires Lockheed Martin to Build up to 12 Orion Spacecraft

The agency plans to order three additional Orion capsules in fiscal year 2022 for Artemis missions VI through VIII, at a total of $1.9 billion. The contract is all about getting almost brand new 6 Orion Space Shuttles for NASA. NASA has committed to achieve this within the next five years with its Artemis mission project. "This is an exciting time as we finish the first-time production of the complex core stage that will provide the power to send the Artemis I mission to the Moon".

Trump also lauded the progress made by NASA for their Artemis program and also said that SpaceX and Blue Origin have been doing great work in the field as well.

Up to six additional Orion spacecraft may be ordered under the IDIQ contract through September 30, 2030, leveraging spacecraft production cost data from the previous six missions to enable the lowest possible unit prices. The first batch of Orion spacecraft will be used for Artemis missions III, IV, and V with a contract value of $2.7 billion.

The Orion crew capsule meant for NASA's uncrewed Artemis 1 mission around the moon and back is being prepared for its flight.

The agency on Monday awarded the Orion Production and Operations Contract (OPOC) to regular collaborator Lockheed Martin.

The Orion spacecraft, which is the crew capsule that will ferry astronauts safely through space, has been in development for a long time already, and NASA just announced a new contract with manufacturer Lockheed Martin to produce a whole bunch of them. The staggered approach lets NASA take advantage of improvements in the supply chain to lower costs.

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"As the only vehicle capable of deep space exploration, the Orion spacecraft is critical to America's continued leadership", said Rep. Brian Babin of Texas.

Also included within the contract award is the production of Gateway, NASA's lunar-orbiting spaceship.

Following the interview, Bridenstine met with Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), to discuss future bilateral cooperation and JAXA's potential participation in NASA's Artemis program.

"We are honoured by today's statement and the commitment of our friends from Australia to support us in our mission to return to the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis programme", Morhard said.

Once testing is over, Orion will head to the Kennedy Space Center to get ready for launch.

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