Under the terms of the $935 million contract, Northrop Grumman will complete the design and development activity currently underway and will also be responsible for integrating HALO with the Power and Propulsion Element provided by Maxar Technologies.
“By leveraging our active Cygnus production line, Northrop Grumman can uniquely provide an affordable and reliable HALO module, in the timeframe needed to support NASA’s Artemis program,” said Steve Krein, vp of civil and commercial satellites at Northrop Grumman.
“Our team looks forward to continuing our collaboration with NASA in order to overcome the technical challenges associated with the harsh radiation and thermal environment of lunar space, as well as the unique challenge of hosting visiting crews for extended durations in this environment.”
The module is described as a critical component of NASA’s Gateway, serving as both a crew habitat and docking hub for spacecraft that navigate between the Earth and the moon.
HALO will feature three docking ports for visiting spacecraft, including the Orion spacecraft and other lunar support vehicles.
As mentioned, the HALO design is derived from Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, which already delivers supplies, spare equipment and scientific experiments to the International Space Station. It has had 13 successful missions to date.
Signed and sealed
It was in June 2020 that the company was initially awarded a NASA contract to provide the first crew module for the Artemis Programme Gateway. This was to fund work through the Preliminary Design Review of HALO.
The review, which was completed in May, confirmed the vehicle’s design and satisfied NASA’s overall Gateway requirements for the mission, including safety and reliability.
Under the new contract, Northrop Grumman, along with partners and suppliers, will be working towards a Critical Design Review due in the spring of 2022 and delivery of the HALO module to the launch site in 2024.
Image: Northrop Grumman – Illustration of Northrop Grumman’s HALO module and the Power Propulsion Element of NASA’s Gateway.