NASA has selected 26 research and development proposals from academia and industry for the advancement of the agency’s next heavy lift rocket named the Space Launch System.
The $48 million investment includes proposals for the SLS' concept development, trades and analyses, propulsion, structures, materials, manufacturing, avionics and software.
William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington said the proposals help NASA “optimize affordability while integrating mature technical upgrades into future vehicles.”
The proposals are the first step in the procurement process, and they are for one year with as many as two one year options, according to the NASA release.
Some of the industry awardees include ATK Systems Advanced Development Affordable Composite Structures, Boeing's Robust Distributed Sensor Interface Modules (DSIM), Ball Aerospace's advanced integrated network and Northrop Grumman‘s Affordable Upper Stage Engine Advanced Development.
“While we are moving out on the initial 70-metric-ton configuration of the vehicle, we will continue to examine concepts, designs and options that advance the rocket to a 130-metric-ton vehicle, which is essential; for deep space exploration,“ said Todd May, SLS program manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
He added, “Competitive opportunities like this research announcement ensure we deliver a safe, affordable, sustainable launch system.“
According to the release, the first flight test for NASA's SLS is scheduled for 2017 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.