Published: Fri, March 20, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NASA Eyes Up to 12 Artemis Moon Missions With New Contract

Altogether, NASA plans to buy hardware for up to a dozen Orion spacecraft by 2030 - with numerous systems reused from the previous vehicles.

On Monday, NASA allocated $2.7 billion in a deal with Lockheed Martin, to build three Orion capsules. Then in fiscal year 2022, the agency plans to order three additional Orion spacecraft for Artemis missions VI-VIII for $1.9 billion. Those spacecraft will be ordered under cost-plus contracts.

The megadeal comes at the heels of NASA's next lunar mission which will take US astronauts back to the Moon by 2024.

"This contract clearly shows NASA's commitment not only to Orion, but also to Artemis and its bold goal of sending humans to the moon in the next five years", Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space, said in an accompanying statement by the company.

Morrison, visiting NASA headquarters in Washington, said the five-year investment plan would help businesses support USA automation systems, build equipment for spacecraft and play a role in mineral exploration.

"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.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, top left, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, top right, witness the signing of a letter of intent between NASA and the Australian Space Agency.

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McDaniel, who met last week with the president and Senate Republicans, had previously been exposed to someone who tested positive.

"We have learned a lot about how to design and manufacture a better Orion - such as designing for reusability, using augmented reality and additive manufacturing - and we're applying this to this next series of vehicles". However, the Orion is the key component of the agency's manned deep-space program for at least the next decade that includes landing on the Moon and an eventual manned mission to Mars.

"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.

The new contract had been in the works for some time. Now, NASA is formalizing its plans with a long-term contract for Lockheed Martin. Morrison also stated that he will attempt to triple the Australian Space Agency budget to support the Artemis mission as well as the Moon to Mars mission that is planned for the future.

Recently, NASA added Australia in its list of partners for the program. John Cornyn of Texas. While I look forward to learning more of the details, it's encouraging to see that this program is moving along as it should be.

"This is a great day for the men and women at Johnson Space Center".

Lockheed is building the vessels at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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