You are currently viewing NASA awards contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne to build new engines for Orion
Image Credit: ESA–D. Ducros.

NASA awards contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne to build new engines for Orion

NASA has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to build new engines for the Orion spacecraft’s European Service Module, the agency and the company announced on September 21. The contract awarded to the rocket engine manufacturer is a single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price orders worth $600 million. The new rocket engines, known as the Orion Main Engines (OME), will be installed on the European Service Modules, replacing the refurbished OMS-E engines built by Aerojet Rocketdyne for NASA’s Space Shuttle program and used for the first few Artemis missions.

Aerojet Rocketdyne will design, build and verify the engine and will deliver up to 20 Orion Main Engines for future Artemis missions from Artemis VII through Artemis XIV. The engines will utilize a hypergolic liquid rocket propellant and will be used for entering and departing lunar orbit, as well as other major maneuvers during future deep space exploration missions.

Artist impression of an Orion capsule and its European Service Module. Image Credit: ESA–D. Ducros.
Artist impression of an Orion capsule and its European Service Module. Image Credit: ESA–D. Ducros.

The Artemis program

The Artemis program is an international spaceflight program carried out by NASA and multiple other space agencies such as the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The primary goal of the program is to land the next astronauts on the lunar surface, demonstrate new technologies and capabilities and to establish a sustainable human presence on and around the Moon. NASA also plans to use the Artemis program as a stepping stone toward manned missions to planet Mars.

The first mission of the program, Artemis I, is scheduled to occur no earlier than December 2021. During the mission, the first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will carry an uncrewed Orion and its service module on a voyage around the Moon and back to Earth. The main objectives of the flight are to verify that all systems of the launch vehicle and spacecraft work as expected ahead of the first crewed flight.

The landing of the next men and the first woman on the lunar surface is expected to take place no earlier than 2025.


Sources:

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-awards-orion-main-engine-contract-for-future-artemis-missions

https://www.rocket.com/article/aerojet-rocketdyne-awarded-nasa-contract-orion-spacecraft-main-engine

https://asteropspace.com/stacking-of-the-artemis-i-sls-rocket-continues/

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