Earlier this month, Loudoun’s Orbital Science Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Space, was awarded a $187 million contract by NASA to execute the preliminary design and development of the Habitation and Logistics Outpost.
The HALO is part of NASA’s Artemis program and will help the agency build a sustainable presence at the Moon by 2028. It will be deployed into lunar orbit as the first crew module of the NASA Gateway, a space station orbiting the moon providing vital support for long-term human exploration of the lunar surface and deep space.
The outpost will be the pressurized living quarters where astronauts will spend their time while visiting the Gateway.
About the size of a small studio apartment, it will provide augmented life support in tandem with NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
This award funds HALO’s design through its preliminary design review, expected by the end of 2020. The HALO will be one of the first elements of the Gateway and is expected to launch together in 2023.
“This contract award is another significant milestone in our plan to build robust and sustainable lunar operations,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. “The Gateway is a key component of NASA’s long-term Artemis architecture and the HALO capability furthers our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for future human missions to Mars.”
Northrop Grumman’s habitation module is based on Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft, currently being used to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
The company’s existing production capacity and manufacturing assets allow it to build the HALO with limited schedule risk.
“The success of our Cygnus spacecraft and its active production line helps to enable Northrop Grumman to deliver the HALO module,” explained Steve Krein, the vice president of civil and commercial satellites for Northrop Grumman. “HALO is an essential element in NASA’s long-term exploration of deep-space, and our HALO program team will continue its work in building and delivering this module in partnership with NASA.”
From the first lunar lander to the space shuttle boosters, to supplying the International Space Station with vital cargo, Northrop Grumman has pioneered new products and ideas that have been put into orbit, on the moon, and in deep space for more than 50 years.
As a part of NASA’s Artemis program, Northrop Grumman is building on its goal of enabling NASA to return humans to the moon by 2024, with the ultimate goal of human exploration of Mars.