The Boeing Co.
) secured a sizable contract from the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA) to develop the core stage of the
largest ever Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. After completing the
Critical Design Review (CDR) on the core stage, Boeing finalized a
$2.8 billion contract with the space agency to enter into full
The SLS intends to send humans beyond the moon's orbit for the
first time. It is designed to carry 143 tons yet the rocket's
initial flight-test configuration will provide lift capacity of 77
tons. The 321 feet long advanced launch system will be powered by
four RS-25 rocket engines built by Aerojet Rocketdyne of Canoga
Park. Boeing's avionics teams as well as other teams across
Southern California are working to prepare the SLS for a first test
flight in 2017.
The CDR is a significant milestone for NASA as the last deep-space
human rocket - the Saturn V - was designed and reviewed way back in
1961. Three stages of the Saturn V were manufactured by Boeing and
partners, the then Douglas Aircraft and North American Aviation.
The Saturn V - a liquid-fueled rocket - was designed to land
astronauts on the moon.
The U.S. has in recent times stepped up its space program and the
defense contractors specializing in space systems see a lot of
opportunity here in the wake of dwindling offers from other core
Leading defense contractor,
Lockheed Martin Corp.
) is in charge of developing the Orion crew vehicle. The SLS rocket
will carry the Orion spacecraft that can hold up to four astronauts
beyond the low earth orbit to test the performance of the
Boeing's Boeing Defense, Space & Security unit is responsible
for this NASA venture and the division is one of the world's
largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in
innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. It is the
world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military
Boeing carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in the
aerospace and defense industry may also consider stocks like
General Dynamics Corp.
). Both these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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