Wednesday, July 2, 2014
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Boeing finalized a contract with NASA to develop the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built. The $2.8 billion contract validates Boeing's earlier selection as prime contractor on the SLS core stage, including avionics, under an undefinitized contract authorization. In addition, Boeing will study the SLS Exploration Upper Stage, which will further expand mission range and payload capabilities. The agreement comes as NASA and Boeing complete the Critical Design Review (CDR) on the core stage, the last major review before full production begins. During the CDR, experts examined and confirmed the final design of the rocket's cryogenic stages that will hold liquefied hydrogen and oxygen. It's NASA's first CDR on a deep-space human exploration launch vehicle since 1961, when the Saturn V rocket underwent a similar review. (Source: Boeing, 07/02/14) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, is building the core stage and the Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle, part of the SLS program; Stennis Space Center, Miss., tests the SLS engines.