NASA Extends Space Shuttle External Tank Contract


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NASA has signed a $465.7 million contract modification with Lockheed Martin, New Orleans, for space shuttle external tanks. The modification aligns and extends all activities associated with the production contract for the tanks to the launch schedule for the space shuttle's retirement date of 2010.

The modification supports the agency's priorities of safely flying the space shuttle, completing construction of the International Space Station and NASA's long-term plan to return astronauts to the moon and beyond.

The cost plus award fee/incentive fee contract will conclude Sept. 30, 2010, and brings the total value of the contract, awarded October 2000, to $2.94 billion. The contract calls for the delivery of 17 external tanks to NASA.

Work under the contract will be performed at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. and NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Lockheed Martin builds, assembles and tests the space shuttle external tanks for NASA at the Michoud facility. The external tank holds the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen for the shuttle's three main engines. It is the largest single component of the space shuttle and the only part of the shuttle that is not reused. At 154 feet tall, the gigantic rust-colored tank is taller than a 15-story building and as wide as a silo, with a diameter of about 27.5 feet. During launch, the tank acts as the structural backbone for the shuttle orbiter and the solid rocket boosters attached to it.

For more information about NASA's Space Shuttle Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

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