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Boeing To Produce Rocket Stages For NASA

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA extended its contract with Boeing to build the rocket core stages for its Space Launch System or SLS beyond the first two Artemis missions, and through the next decade. Boeing is the current lead contractor for the core stages of the rockets for the first two missions.

The space agency and Boeing have signed a contract for the production of ten SLS core stages and up to eight Exploration Upper Stages or EUS that will support the third through the twelfth Artemis missions.

This includes the contract for production of the core stage of the rocket for the third Artemis mission that will carry the first American woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.

NASA said it has provided initial funding and authorization to Boeing to commence work toward the production of the third core stage. The agency has also given permission to Boeing to order targeted long-lead materials as well as cost-efficient bulk purchases to support future builds of core stages.

NASA expects the new contract to help realize substantial savings by applying lessons learned during first-time builds and gaining efficiencies through bulk purchases. The agency and Boeing are working on negotiations to finalize the details of the full contract within the next year.

The SLS is NASA's deep space exploration rocket that will launch astronauts in the 27-metric ton Orion crew vehicle, along with cargo, from Earth to the moon and eventually to Mars. The rocket is designed to be evolvable for missions beyond the moon.

Boeing has designed, tested and built the first SLS core stage under the original NASA Stages contract. The second core stage is simultaneously in production at the company's Michoud Assembly Facility or MAF in New Orleans.

The EUS is an important part of the Artemis infrastructure required to send astronauts and large cargo together, or larger cargo-only shipments, to the Moon, Mars and deep space. NASA aims to use the first EUS on the Artemis IV mission.

According to Boeing, the EUS design for the Block 1B version is in development, and the MAF facility is being prepared for its build.

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