NASA's Orion spacecraft Main Engine contract for the future Artemis mission was awarded to a rocket and missile manufacturer, Aero Rocketdyne.
The firm based in Redmond, Washington grabbed the $600 million Orion Main Engine or OME contract alone, which took effect last Sept. 21, and will last until April 23, 2032, as per Mirage News.
NASA Orion Spacecraft
The Orion spacecraft of NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will play a vital role in the Artemis mission of the space agency, which seeks to bring humans back to the moon as a preparation for future travels to other planets, like Mars.
To be precise, the Orion spacecraft is responsible for transporting astronauts to the moon.
As such, NASA said that it is already making progress with the development of the Orion spacecraft, concluding its development phase, and, now, moving forward to the production phase.
Last Sept. 17, the United States space agency announced it has recently completed the first major work under the production phase.
It specifically involves the welding on the pressure vessel of Orion, which serves as the structural frame of the capsule or the crew module.
NASA's feat was made possible through the lead contractor of the Orion production phase, Lockheed Martin.
NASA Orion Spacecraft Main Engine Contract
Meanwhile, the OME will serve as the engine that will make major maneuvers for the spacecraft possible, including both departing and entering the orbit of the moon.
Not to mention that it will also play a primary role in some mission abort instances.
According to SpaceRef, the contract awardee, Aerojet Rocketdyne, will be providing refurbished Orbital Maneuvering System engines or shortly known as OMS-Es from the previous space shuttle program for the initial six missions of the Orion spacecraft.
The president and CEO of Aerojet Rocketdyne, Eileen Drake, further boasted that the previous work of her firm on the OMS-Es for the space shuttle proves that her company "understands the engine's materials, manufacturing processes, and thrust levels."
The Aerojet Rocketdyne exec went on to add that the company is "excited to develop its next-generation in support of future Artemis missions."
Elsewhere, NASA previously awarded another contract to multiple firms for the design of the moon lander systems, which includes rival firms SpaceX and Blue Origin, as well as Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman.
It is worth noting that Blue Origin, the space company of billionaire Jeff Bezos, recently brought NASA to the federal court to contest its contract awarding.
Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA Orion
On top of that, Aerojet Rocketdyne is not just working on the main engines of the Orion.
The company also works under a contract with Lockheed Martin to develop the auxiliary engines of the service module of the Orion spacecraft.
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Written by Teejay Boris