Three RS-25 engines at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility in Mississippi.
Three RS-25 engines at Aerojet Rocketdyne’s facility in Mississippi.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has been awarded a US$1.79 billion contract modification to produce 18 extra RS-25 rocket engines for NASA as part of its Artemis Program to return to the moon.

The RS-25 engines will be used to propel NASA’s space launch system (SLS) rocket used to carry crew and cargo, the company said. The additional 18 engines will incorporate the same additive manufacturing (AM) technologies that was introduced in the initial SLS engine production.

‘The nation is returning to the moon and moving forward with plans to explore other deep space destinations, including Mars,’ said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. ‘This contract ensures our flight proven RS-25 engines will be there every step of the way as NASA successfully and safely achieves these objectives.’

Currently 16 RS-25 engines remain from NASA’s space shuttle program that have been upgraded, tested, and are ready to support the first four SLS missions. Aerojet Rocketdyne is building six new RS-25 engines that it says target more than a 30% cost reduction on future production when compared to the versions that flew on the Space Shuttle. Delivery of these new engines will begin in 2023.

This story uses material from Aerojet Rocketdyne, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.