NASA has awarded a $1.14 billion contract to the Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power unit of Boeing, for maintenance and support of the Space Shuttle Main Engine over the next five years.
According to a statement, the contract calls for Rocketdyne to support the Space Shuttle flight manifest. Support includes on-going flight and test engineering, as well as engine refurbishment. In addition, the contract requires the manufacture, assembly, test and delivery of three additional Space Shuttle Main Engines.
The contract also provides engineering support to both Main Engine processing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, and Main Engine test firing at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Centre, as well as engine design, manufacturing and engineering management at the Rocketdyne facility.
A cluster of three Main Engines on each Shuttle provides much of the power needed to launch into low-Earth orbit. They are said to be the world’s only large reusable liquid rocket engines. After the Shuttle orbiter lands, the engines are checked and prepared for the next flight. Some components are returned to Rocketdyne for refurbishment.
Rocketdyne has been providing Shuttle Main Engines since 1972, assembling 106 engines.