NASA has dedicated to ordering more Orion spacecraft the human-carrying linchpin of the Artemis program for the lunar ambitions, the agency, and its prime contractor mentioned this week.
NASA stated it would order a minimum of six and a maximum of 12 spacecraft from Lockheed Martin Corporation by 2030 under the Orion Production Also Operations Contract.
The agency has placed the first order of three Orion spacecraft estimated about $2.7 billion for Artemis flights three by five. Then in 2022, NASA is anticipated to place a $1.9 billion order for three more for missions six by eight.
“Ordering the spacecraft in teams of three allows NASA to benefit from efficiencies that grow to be accessible in the supply chain over time efficiencies that optimize production and decrease costs,” NASA stated in a release.
The Orion spacecraft wanted for the first uncrewed mission focusing on no earlier than late 2020; however more possible mid-2021 is already in place. $2.7 billion commitment secures the spacecraft for Artemis III, which in 2024 is slated to be the first human landed on the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Spacecraft production for the program shall be managed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.