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Northrop Books $187M NASA Contract to Develop Lunar Gateway Crew Module

NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) a $187 million contract to conduct initial design and development efforts for the habitation module of a lunar outpost to support the Artemis mission. The company will aim to finalize the design of its habitation and logistics outpost for the lunar Gateway before a preliminary review commences later this year, the agency said Saturday.

HALO is based on the Cygnus spacecraft and meant to operate as a pressurized facility and living quarters in addition to supporting the functions of NASA’s Orion capsule.

The agency first announced its plan to sole-source the cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to Northrop in July 2019. The company proposed the module design under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships program. The recent award serves as a follow-on to the NextSTEP-2 Appendix A contract.

According to NASA, HALO will operate together with the power-and-propulsion element being developed by Maxar Technologies (NYSE: MAXR) to support Gateway communications, maneuvering and power functions. Both elements of the lunar spaceship are scheduled to launch in 2023.

Steve Krein, vice president for civil and commercial satellites at Northrop, said in separate press release that HALO is “an essential element in NASA’s long-term exploration of deep-space” and the company will continue working with NASA to deliver the module.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator and a recent Wash100 Award recipient, noted that the contract is “another significant milestone” in the agency’s plans to establish sustainable lunar operations.

NASA intends to issue a contract modification for HALO manufacturing and assembly processes, as well as another launch services contract for HALO and PPE in the fall.

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