NASA said that the fixed-price contract is valued at $935 million and Northrop Grumman will be making and will be responsible for connecting and testing HALO, which is to be built into the power propulsion element (PPE) manufactured by Maxar Technologies.
“Northrop Grumman will also lead the complex rotation of the space probes PPE and HALO in preparation for the launch of SpaceX, and support the activation and verification of HALO during its lunar orbit. The spacecraft integrated into the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is scheduled to launch in November 2024,” NASA said.
HALO is the place where astronauts will live and study when they visit the gateway. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) General Accountability Office (GAO) said that due to its reliance on technology it has not yet been fully developed, NASA’s earlier deadline for returning humans to the moon in 2024 seems to be coming, but it is less likely to be achieved until 2024.
“Accelerating the work process to meet this ambitious date, coupled with some technical risks, means that the moon landing in 2024 is less likely,” GAO said in a press release explaining the report. “For example, most lunar projects are still in the early stages of development, and some rely on immature technology.”
The pace at which NASA is developing the shuttle needed to move astronauts between spacecraft orbiting the moon and the lunar surface, based on a plan that may be too ambitious, according to the announcement. Compared with other space missions, its speed is “a few months faster,” and the lander is inherently more complex because it supports manned space travel, the statement said.
The report also questioned NASA’s Gateway program, which is an orbiting space station that will serve as a base for multiple landings because these programs involve energy and propulsion technology that has never been used. In addition, the contractor’s efforts to develop technology lag behind the plan. NASA plans to bypass the gateway and allow two astronauts to land on the south pole of the moon for the first time in 2024. Instead, they fly directly from the earth into the moon’s orbit and then descend to the surface, which is different then the previous Apollo project.