Directors at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) believe a successful Lockheed Martin Phase II bid for the development and construction of the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) would guarantee MAF involvement in the project until at least 2019.
Competing Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman-Boeing teams received Phase I contract awards last July for CEV systems requirements definition, with Phase II proposals due on March 20, for a decision to be taken by NASA later in the year.
This month, NASA issued Phase II of a Request for Proposals – a ‘Call for Improvements’ that adds detailed design, development and production requirements. Lockheed originally proposed a lifting body CEV, which was rejected by NASA – opting for the ‘Apollo-style’ capsule concept.
The spacecraft will have an improved, blunt-body crew capsule shape and be able to transport up to six astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) and up to four to and from the moon.
Requirements are based on future exploration mission needs and the desire to fly the first CEV mission as close as possible to 2010, when the Space Shuttle will be retired. The CEV will also support future Mars missions.
‘Michoud Operations is part of the Lockheed Martin team executing the Phase I contract and preparing its bid for the next phase of the program that will include design, development and test as well as production and support until 2019,’ explained Dan Ferrari, director of Business Development, in an address to employees.
NASA will evaluate the proposals and select a single CEV contractor later this year.
Lockheed Martin and MAF are also deeply involved with the proposals for winning the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) second stage contract.
CEV/CLV live update thread: