NASA authorizes contract for ARES I materials

While we await the return of Space Shuttle Atlantis, NASA is still waiting on its replacement vehicle.

NASA has authorized a contract with a maximum value of $16.7 million with Alcoa North American Rolled Products of Bettendorf, Iowa, to supply aluminum lithium plates and metal ingots for early development of the Ares I crew launch vehicles upper stage.

The firm fixed-price contract has a period of performance through August 5, 2008.

Ares I is an in-line, two-stage rocket that will transport to low Earth orbit the Orion crew exploration vehicle containing up to six astronauts.

The first stage will consist of a single reusable solid rocket booster similar to those used on the space shuttle, with an additional fifth segment.

The second, or upper, stage will consist of a J-2X main engine fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.