Launch of the Antares launcher at Cygnus CRS NG-11 / Northrop Grumman Corporation
The state enterprise “Yuzhmash” is located in the Dnieper and is engaged in the production of space technology. For example, satellites and launchers. “Yuzhmash” also has contracts with foreign companies.
Ukrainian company Yuzhmash has a long-standing contract for the production of the “main first-stage structure” of the Northrop Grumman Antares missile. This two-stage, middle-class launcher is used to send cargo to the International Space Station. Well, it is now known that the contract with Yuzhmash has been extended and that the company will manufacture at least two “first stage structures”.
Antares launcher in the Cygnus CRS NG-11 mission / Photo by Northrop Grumman Corporation
Why is this good news?
And this is important because the contract could break. The point is, there clearly aren’t enough cargo spacecraft to deliver things to the ISS: Russian Soyuz and Progress, Japanese HTV (H-II Transfer Vehicle), SpaceX’s American Dragon. And if the stars in the sky converge in the near future, even Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner will go to the ISS. We suspect that it is precisely because of this that the contract between NASA and Northrop Grumman for the supply of freight could be called into question.
There were probably other reasons: for example, one party’s question about the launcher configuration. In particular, this was written in Yuzhmash’s post.
It should be noted that the situation was uncertain for a long time, since the future of the project depended on the position of NASA. Now that the expectations are exceeded, our client decided on the configuration of the launcher, which made it possible to conclude a contract,
– the company said in a statement.
Techno 24 editors congratulate Yuzhmash on extending important contract. From now on, the company will manufacture at least 4 “basic structures of the first stage”: fuel tanks, high pressure tanks, valves, fuel and power supply systems, various pipes, and so on. Note that the RD-181 engines on the first stage of the Antares launcher are supplied by Russia.