NASA modifies tank contract

NASA has signed a $47.5m contract modification with Lockheed Martin in New Orleans for space shuttle external fuel tanks.

With this modification, the production contract now includes final assembly of one tank, partial manufacture of a tank and the acquisition of the component parts for one additional tank to serve as spares.

The external tank holds the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen for the shuttle’s three main engines and is the only part of the shuttle that is not reused, the tank measures 46.9m tall and has a diameter of 8.4m.

Lockheed Martin is expected to deliver 18 external tanks to NASA, and the new terms bring the total value of the contract to $2.93bn.

Work will be performed at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, NASA’s MarshallSpaceFlightCenter in Huntsville, Alabama and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

The cost plus award fee/incentive fee contract will end on 30 September 2010.