NASA Awards Northrop Grumman Artemis Contract for Gateway Crew Cabin

Artist's concept of the Gateway power and propulsion and HALO.
Artist’s concept of the Gateway power and propulsion and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, or HALO, in orbit around the Moon.
Credits: NASA

NASA has finalized the contract for the initial crew module of the agencys Gateway lunar orbiting outpost.

Orbital Science Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Space, has been awarded $187 million to design the habitation and logistics outpost (HALO) for the Gateway, which is part of NASAs Artemis program and will help the agency build a sustainable presence at the Moon. This award funds HALOs design through its preliminary design review, expected by the end of 2020.

This contract award is another significant milestone in our plan to build robust and sustainable lunar operations, said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The Gateway is a key component of NASAs long-term Artemis architecture and the HALO capability furthers our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for future human missions to Mars.

The HALO will be the pressurized living quarters where astronauts will spend their time while visiting the Gateway. About the size of a small studio apartment, it will provide augmented life support in tandem with NASAs Orion spacecraft.

The preliminary design review is one of a series of checkpoints in the design life cycle of a complex engineering project before hardware manufacturing can begin. As the review process progresses, details of the vehicles design are assessed to ensure the overall system is safe and reliable for flight and meets all NASA mission requirements.

This cost plus incentive fee contract allows Northrop Grumman to finalize the design of all systems and subsystems. It also provides for the company to award initial subcontracts for long-lead hardware elements. A second contract action is expected to be definitized by the end of the year for Northrop Grumman to fabricate and assemble HALO for integration with the Gateways power and propulsion element (PPE) by the end of 2023.

These first two elements of the Gateway HALO and PPE will launch together in 2023. This is a recent update to the agencys plans to build a sustainable presence at the Moon as part of the Artemis program.The decision to integrate the elements on the ground prior to launch an outcome of the agencys program status assessment reduces both cost and technical risks while enhancing the likelihood of mission success by eliminating the need for the two elements to dock in the orbit around the Moon where the Gateway will operate.

Were making significant progress on these first two elements, including incorporation of components from ESA (European Space Agency), the Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and payloads from our research communities, said Dan Hartman, Gateway program manager at NASAs Johnson Space Center in Houston. The new plan to integrate the two elements of Gateway demonstrates the capabilities of the agency and our partners to be flexible and reassess plans as needed. By launching the elements together, were able to significantly reduce Gateways risk profile and increase cost effectiveness.

The PPE, being designed and built byMaxar Technologies,is equipped with high-power, 60-kilowattsolar electric propulsion. In addition to providing power and communications, its substantial maneuvering capabilities will allow the Gateway to change orbits and enable crews to reach any part of the Moons surface.

Northrop Grummans habitation module, developed through NASAs NextSTEP initiative, is based on its Cygnus spacecraft currently being used to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The companys existing production capability and manufacturing assets allow it to build the HALO with limited schedule risk. NASAs Launch Services Program will select a launch provider for PPE and HALO by late fall 2020.

Charged with returning to the Moon in the next four years, NASAsArtemis programwill reveal new knowledge about the Moon, Earth, and our origins in the solar system.The Gateway is a vital part of NASAs deep space exploration plans, along with theSpace Launch System(SLS) rocket,Orionspacecraft, and the human landing system that will carry astronauts to the surface of the Moon in preparation for NASA to sending humans on a historic first journey to Mars.

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