NASA Prime Contractor Industry Team Reaches Significant Exploration
Mission-1 Milestone with Critical Design Review Completion
WASHINGTONOct. 22, 2015--
NASA s Space Launch System program has completed its Critical Design
Review, and major subsystems such as Orion s launch abort system and the
SLS RS-25 engines have recently completed successful testing. These
accomplishments bring America one step closer to deep space preserving
the nation s leadership in human space exploration.
NASA s four major prime contractors for SLS and Orion Aerojet Rocketdyne, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK have completed a number of accomplishments that bring America one step closer to deep space. This artist s rendering depicts the SLS rocket on its way to the launch pad. Image credit: NASA
The successes and milestones we are seeing are incredibly important
steps in the development of NASA s heavy-lift, deep space exploration
vehicle, said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager for
Orbital ATK s Propulsion Systems Division, and four-time space shuttle
astronaut. This rocket is the foundation of a very promising future for
human spaceflight, and will take humans farther than we ve ever gone
This is the first time since the 1970s that NASA has completed CDR on a
major new launch vehicle. Experts from NASA and industry validated that
the SLS, as designed, meets all system requirements and is within cost
and schedule constraints. It s a go for production, assembly,
integration and testing of the vehicle as a whole.
Four major industry players are building the SLS and Orion spacecraft
for NASA s crewed exploration missions that will travel beyond the moon
and into deep space. Boeing (NYSE: BA) is designing, developing,
producing and testing the rocket s core and upper stage, as well as the
avionics. Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA) provides the solid rocket boosters that
supply more than 75% of the required thrust during the first two minutes
of flight, and Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE:AJRD) provides the reliable,
flight-proven RS-25 and RL-10 engines for the core and upper stage that
carry SLS and Orion into orbit and on to deep space on the first flight
of SLS. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is designing and building the Orion
spacecraft, which will fly on top of SLS and into deep space.
Recent SLS milestones include the successful qualification ground test
of the SLS booster, completion of the first RS-25 engine test-firing
series, and flight hardware production of the major elements that make
up the rocket s core stage. Boeing is producing core stage flight
hardware at NASA s Michoud Assembly Facility and building out additional
test and integration facilities. Additionally, Boeing and NASA are
completing avionics systems at NASA s Marshall Space Flight Center that
will control launch and guidance systems for the rocket.
Aerojet Rocketdyne began a series of RS-25 hot-fire tests earlier this
year at NASA s Stennis Space Center to ensure the re-purposed Space
Shuttle Main Engines are compatible with the full range of conditions
expected on SLS.
We are increasing the cadence of the RS-25 tests to verify each
engine s performance prior to their first flight in 2018, said Julie
Van Kleeck, Aerojet Rocketdyne, vice president, Advanced Space & Launch.
The milestone progress we are making today is setting the stage for
many unforeseen discoveries in the future.
Lockheed Martin engineers have begun welding the Orion Exploration
Mission-1 (EM-1) spacecraft at Michoud Assembly Facility. Based on
lessons learned from the spacecraft s test flight last December,
engineers are reducing the weight of the vehicle and making
manufacturing design improvements.
The completion of these milestones is incredibly important to EM-1
launch readiness in 2018.
EM-1 will be the first time the SLS is integrated with the Orion
spacecraft and flies into space. The mission will send Orion into lunar
distant retrograde orbit a wide orbit around the moon that is farther
from Earth than any human-rated spacecraft has ever traveled. The
uncrewed mission will last more than 20 days and will prove the design
and safety of Orion and SLS for human exploration missions to follow. To
learn more about EM-1, visit www.exploredeepspace.com.
Aerojet Rocketdyne: http://www.rocket.com/rs-25-engine
Lockheed Martin: www.lockheedmartin.com/orion
Orbital ATK: http://www.orbitalatk.com/flight-systems/propulsion-systems/
To explore the network of companies in 49 states supporting deep space
missions, visit the SLS and Orion supplier map at: http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/ESDSuppliersMap/
Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne and Orbital ATK and Lockheed Martin and Boeing