Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) has received a potential $84.5 million contract to provide propulsion technologies and technical assistance at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to support Mars exploration and sample return missions.
The Mars Ascent Propulsion System award, which has a $60.2 million base value to cover a 14-month period, includes two extension options and comes as part of NASA and the European Space Agency’s Mars Sample Return effort, NASA said Friday.
Northrop will provide propulsion systems for the Mars Ascent Vehicle, which will operate with the Sample Fetch Rover to retrieve surface elements from Mars under the Sample Retrieval Lander and Earth Return Orbiter missions.
The two-stage MAV element is meant to support efforts to obtain samples collected by the Perseverance rover for research and analysis.
Northrop will also provide associated propulsion equipment and logistics support under the contract.