Dynetics, Inc. in Huntsville, Ala., has been awarded the prime contract by NASA's Glenn Research Center to manage the design, analysis, manufacturing, testing and assembly of the Universal Stage Adapter (USA) for the Space Launch System (SLS). The estimated value is $221 million, if all options are exercised.
The SLS is a powerful, advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle and is designed to be flexible and evolvable for deep-space destinations. SLS will have three different launch capabilities, called blocks. USA and the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) will sit atop the SLS core stage and solid rocket boosters for the Block 1B and future configurations. Block 1B is scheduled for launch in the 2020's.
The USA will integrate the EUS to the Orion crew module while providing structural, electrical and communication paths. The USA will also provide environmental control to payloads during integrated ground operations, launch, and ascent phases. The USA will also integrate co-manifested and secondary payloads.
"We are extremely proud to be selected as the prime contractor for the NASA Space Launch System's Universal Stage Adapter. This contract will build on Dynetics' expertise in the space industry which includes developing the low-cost, full-scale advanced booster cryogenic liquid oxygen demonstration tank and manufacturing, designing and testing propulsion components and systems for the SLS core and upper stages," said Robert Wright, Dynetics program manager. "Our teammates - RUAG Space USA, ZIN Technologies, Dynamic Concepts, Inc., Craig Technologies, Tuskegee University and Paragon Tec - will bring vast levels of experience and knowledge together as we design and develop flight hardware that will be used to take humans and science missions further into deep space."
The USA will be designed, built and tested in Huntsville and at the new Dynetics Aerospace Structures Complex and the RUAG Space USA facility both in Decatur, Ala. The Dynetics Decatur facility will break ground in the summer of 2017 and the USA assembly facility will be completed in 2019.
After the USA is assembled and tested, it will be delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The USA will travel by barge from Decatur down the Tennessee River and the Tombigbee Waterway to the Gulf of Mexico and then around south Florida and up to the Kennedy Space Center.
The contract expands Dynetics' role at NASA's Glenn Research Center and Marshall Space Flight Center and moves the company into more flight hardware development, production and test. Dynetics holds a prime contract for SLS Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and Risk Reduction. Dynetics is also the subcontractor for manufacturing and transportation for the SLS core stage pathfinder vehicle.
The work is expected to begin in June 2017.