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NASA Awards Lockheed Martin, ULA, SpaceX Contracts for Moon, Mars Technologies

By Rachel Jewett | October 15, 2020

      Photo: NASA

      NASA has chosen 14 companies for contract awards to develop technologies for Artemis operations on the Moon, including about $260 million to a group including Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance (ULA), and SpaceX to develop cryogenic fluid management. The awards, announced Wednesday, have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million.

      For cryogenic fluid management technology demonstrations, small business Eta Space will receive $27 million for a small-scale flight demonstration of a complete cryogenic oxygen fluid management system, which will be the primary payload on a Rocket Lab Photon satellite. Lockheed Martin will receive $89.7 million for an in-space demonstration mission using liquid hydrogen. SpaceX will receive $53.2 million for large-scale flight demonstration to transfer 10 metric tons of cryogenic propellant, specifically liquid oxygen, between tanks on a Starship vehicle. And ULA will receive $86.2 million to demonstrate a smart propulsion cryogenic system, using liquid oxygen and hydrogen, on a Vulcan Centaur upper stage. 

      Other awards support technologies needed to live on and explore the Moon. These awards include $14.1 million for Nokia of America Corporation to deploy the first LTE/4G communications system in space. NASA said the system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards.

      “NASA’s significant investment in innovative technology demonstrations, led by small and large U.S. businesses across nine states, will expand what is possible in space and on the lunar surface,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine commented in a release. “Together, NASA and industry are building up an array of mission-ready capabilities to support a sustainable presence on the Moon and future human missions to Mars.”