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XPONENTIAL Innovation Preview -- www.allthingsunmanned.com

Tue, May 14, 2013

NASA Awards Contract To Modify Mobile Launcher

Part Of The Ground Support Infrastructure For The SLS

NASA has awarded a contract to J.P. Donovan Construction Inc. of Rockledge, FL, to modify the mobile launcher that will enable the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket to send humans on deep-space missions. The work under this firm fixed-price $20.7 million contract will begin in June and be completed in 18 months.

The mobile launcher is located at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Kennedy is expanding its capabilities to support the SLS rocket and ground support infrastructure. The modifications will enable the mobile launcher to meet vehicle processing deadlines and the launch manifest for SLS.

NASA says the new heavy-lift rocket will be the largest launch vehicle ever built and more powerful than the Saturn V rocket that carried Apollo astronauts to the moon. The 77 ton configuration will lift more than 154,000 pounds and will provide 10 percent more thrust than the Saturn V rocket, while the 143 ton configuration will lift more than 286,000 pounds and provide 20 percent more thrust than the Saturn V.

The first SLS mission — Exploration Mission 1 — in 2017 will launch an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to demonstrate the integrated system performance of the SLS rocket and spacecraft prior to a crewed flight. That first mission will be a flight test to send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit. NASA's asteroid initiative, proposed in the agency's budget request for fiscal year 2014, would use SLS and Orion to send astronauts to study a small asteroid that will have been redirected robotically to a stable orbit near the moon.

Midwest Steel Inc. of Detroit will be a major subcontractor to J.P. Donovan Construction.

(Artist's rendering provided by NASA)

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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