DULLES, Va. - Dec. 2, 2021 - Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA under the Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development program for $125.6 million to design a safe, reliable and cost-effective commercial free-flying space station in low Earth orbit (LEO). Northrop Grumman's commercial space station design will use current flight systems and advanced crew-focused technology under development that allows for rapid deployment with modular expansion to meet the growing needs of the space economy.
Northrop Grumman's low Earth orbit commercial free-flying space station design leverages flight proven elements to provide the base module for extended capabilities including science, tourism, industrial experimentation, and building of infrastructure beyond initial design.
"Under this agreement, the Northrop Grumman team will deliver a free flying space station design that is focused on commercial operations to meet the demands of an expanding LEO market," said Steve Krein, vice president, civil and commercial space, Northrop Grumman. "Our station will enable a smooth transition from International Space Station-based LEO missions to sustainable commercial-based missions where NASA does not bear all the costs, but serves as one of many customers."
This Space Act Agreement will enable Northrop Grumman to provide a detailed commercialization, operations and capabilities plan as well as space station requirements, mission success criteria, risk assessments, key technical and market analysis requirements, and preliminary design activities.
To support this effort, Northrop Grumman is building a team with unique capabilities and expertise, which includes Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, with other partners to be announced in the coming months.
Building on Northrop Grumman's commercial spacecraft experience with the Cygnus spacecraft and the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) as well as the in-production Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), Northrop Grumman's design utilizes an overlapping stage approach that minimizes initial costs, provides revenue to offset subsequent development, and allows later capabilities to be added according to market needs.
The station will have the ability to support four permanent crewmembers initially, with plans to expand to an eight-person crew and further capability beyond that. The station is designed for a permanent presence of 15 years.
Northrop Grumman's design, using flight-proven elements, provides the base modules for commercial capabilities including science, tourism and manufacturing. Multiple docking ports will allow future expansion to support exploration crew analog habitats, laboratories, crew airlocks and facilities capable of artificial gravity.
Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers' toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.