NASA has finalized a contract with Boeing to continue the manufacture of core and upper stages for Space Launch System (SLS) rockets for the agency’s Artemis missions. According to NASA, the SLS Stages Production and Evolution Contract will cover production of the core stages for the Artemis III and IV missions, procurement of core stage material for Artemis V and VI, providing the exploration upper stages (EUS) for Artemis V and VI, along with tooling and related support and engineering services. The contract is valued at approximately $3.2 billion.
“NASA’s Space Launch System rocket is the only rocket capable of sending large cargos and soon, astronauts to the Moon,” said SLS Program Manager John Honeycutt. “The SLS core stage is the backbone of NASA’s Moon rocket, producing more than 2 million pounds of thrust at launch, and the addition of the exploration upper stage will enable NASA to support missions to deep space through the 2030s.”
SLS Stages Production and Evolution Contract work is expected to continue through July 2028. NASA noted that the SLS rockets for the first three Artemis missions use an interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) with one RL10 engine. Artemis IV and subsequent missions will launch with the SLS Block 1B configuration, which uses the EUS with larger fuel tanks and four RL10 engines. As previously reported by AVweb, the SLS was first used to launch the Artemis I mission on Nov. 16.