Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE: AJRD) has been awarded a nine-year, $1.79B follow-on contract to produce 18 more cryogenic engines to power Space Launch Systems NASA intends to use on Artemis exploration missions.
The company helped the agency update, test and prepare 16 RS-25 flight engines that were used in the Space Shuttle Program to propel the first four missions with the SLS rocket.
Aerojet Rocketdyne will provide a total of 24 engines to support up to six SLS flights through Sept. 30, 2029.
In a separate press release, the company said that “Green Run” testing activities for the SLS core stage along with the RS-25 engines intended for the Artemis I mission are underway at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
The agency will use its Pegasus barge to transport the core stage to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the hardware will be integrated with other SLS and Orion components.
Production of the additional shuttle engines will involve manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing, that were first implemented to build the RS-25 technology.
“The nation is returning to the Moon and moving forward with plans to explore other deep space destinations, including Mars,” said Eileen Drake, president and CEO of Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Drake added that the company will work to ensure that its engines “will be there every step of the way” as NASA continues to pursue deep-space exploration missions.
Arerojet Rocketdyne expects to begin delivering the additional engines in 2023.