NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman $187 million to design the habitat module for the space agency's lunar Gateway, a planned moon-orbiting space station for astronauts.
We learned last year that NASA had tapped Virginia-based Northrop Grumman to build Gateway's pressurized crew cabin, called the habitation and logistics outpost (HALO). The company will base HALO on its Cygnus spacecraft, which has been flying contracted robotic cargo missions to the International Space Station for NASA since 2014.
On Friday (June 5), the space agency announced some terms of the deal: Northrop Grumman will receive $187 million to fund HALO's design through a key milestone called preliminary design review, which is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
"This contract award is another significant milestone in our plan to build robust and sustainable lunar operations," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. "The Gateway is a key component of NASA’s 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."
Orion will provide life support for astronauts aboard the Gateway, along with HALO, which will provide about as much living space as a small studio apartment.
Negotiations on the supply of RD-181M to the USA will allow to continue cooperation in the field of engine building
Approval by the Government of the Russian Federation of the proposal of the State Corporation "Roscosmos" to negotiate a contract with an interested customer for the supply of Russian RD-181M engines produced by the Scientific and Production Association "Energomash" named after Academician V.P. Glushko (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) for the American company Orbital Sciences LLC will allow, despite the existing sanctions, to continue mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in the field of rocket propulsion. The United States receives reliable and unsurpassed rocket engines for its launch vehicles.
It should be recalled that RD-181 engines have been supplied to the United States since 2015; this is already the second export engine produced by NPO Energomash, supplied for American launch vehicles. With the help of a Russian engine, the American Antares launch vehicle delivers cargo to the International Space Station. All launches in the USA using our RD-180 and RD-181 engines have been successful.
The new RD-181M engine, for which Roscosmos has received an export permit, represents the next stage in the development of the RD-181. Its analogue RD-191M, used for Russian launch vehicles, will be installed on a manned version of the Angara-A5P heavy space rocket.
NPO Energomash partners can be sure of the quality and reliability of Russian engines. Roscosmos State Corporation and NPO Energomash confirm their reputation as a reliable supplier of high-quality high-tech products.
Northrop Grumman says it has a backup plan to fulfill the company’s contract to resupply to the International Space Station if the war in Ukraine continues to disrupt the supply of Russian engines and Ukrainian booster cores for the company’s Antares rocket.
The company has hardware in its inventory for two more Antares resupply launches — currently scheduled for August and early 2023 — but needs engines and booster tanks imported from Russia and Ukraine for additional Antares flights.
NASA announced in March an award to Northrop Grumman for six additional cargo missions to the International Space Station, beyond the next two Antares flights already under contract. Northrop Grumman has launched 17 cargo missions to the space station using the company’s Cygnus supply freighter under the umbrella of two Commercial Resupply Services contracts, with eight more Cygnus flights now on the books.
Kathy Warden, Northrop Grumman’s president and CEO, said in an April 28 earnings call that the company has “some exposure” to the fallout from the war in Ukraine on the NASA resupply contract.
“We have what we need for the next two launches,” Warden said. “So there isn’t immediate disruption, and we have a plan in place that we could use other sources if needed, beyond those two launches.”