NASA Orders More SLS Megarockets from Boeing for Artemis Moon Missions

Space.com | 10/18/2019 | Elizabeth Howell
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NASA has extended Boeing's moon rocket assembly authorization in preparation to support as many as 10 moon missions for the agency's Artemis program, which aims to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.

On Wednesday (Oct. 16), NASA announced interim additional funding for Boeing — and an authorization to buy raw materials for rocket-building in bulk — as the company and NASA continue to negotiate a full contract for Artemis. The larger contract, which the agency plans to finalize next year, is expected to support up to 10 core stages of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, as well as eight Exploration Upper Stages (EUS).

NASA - Idea - Funding - Boeing - Contract

NASA currently has "no idea" how much funding it will give Boeing in the full contract, but that amount will be disclosed when the administration submits its next budget request in February, an agency spokesperson told Space.com. This additional rocket manufacturing is part of the agency's push to land humans on the lunar surface in five years, in fulfillment of a directive from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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President - Goal - Astronauts - Moon - SLS

"It is urgent that we meet the President's goal to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, and SLS is the only rocket that can help us meet that challenge," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

"These initial steps allow NASA to start building the core stage that will launch the next astronauts to set foot on the lunar surface, and build the powerful exploration upper stage that will expand the possibilities for Artemis missions by sending hardware and cargo — along with humans or even heavier cargo — needed to explore the moon or Mars."

Boeing - Contract - SLS - Core - Stages

Boeing already has a contract to build the SLS core stages for the Artemis 1 and Artemis 2 missions, and the first EUS for...
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