WASHINGTON — NASA has taken another step in its efforts to establish a long-term production line for the Space Launch System, although it remains uncertain what cost savings, if any, those contracts will provide.
NASA announced June 29 that it has signed a letter contract with Northrop Grumman for solid rocket boosters used by the SLS. The contract, valued at $49.5 million, will allow the company to begin buying long-lead items needed for boosters that would be used on the fourth through ninth flights of the SLS. The company is already under contract for the boosters for the Artemis 1, 2 and 3 missions of the SLS through 2024.
The letter contract serves as a precursor to a long-term contract for the boosters for those six future SLS missions. That contract, which NASA said it expects to finalize in the next year, would run through the end of 2030.
“This initial step ensures that NASA can build the boosters needed for future Space Launch System rockets that will be needed for the Artemis missions to explore the moon,” said John Honeycutt, NASA SLS program manager, in an agency statement. “The letter contract allows us to buy long-lead materials in time ...