NASA intends to buy additional upper stages from Boeing as the agency plans to perform two more launches of the Space Launch System’s Block 1 version designed for use in Exploration Mission 1, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.
The plan to purchase additional Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stages comes as NASA seeks to launch through SLS Block 1 the crewed Orion spacecraft on EM-2 in 2021 and the Europa Clipper spacecraft on the “cargo” mission in 2022 while the mobile launch platform for the rocket’s Block 1B version is being developed.
“The first three missions will be of the Block 1 configuration, which includes the ICPS,” Chris Cianciola, deputy program manager of the SLS program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said Monday during a panel discussion.
Cianciola noted that the sequence of the cargo and EM-2 missions could be reversed.
“We’ll go through acquisition strategies and those kinds of discussions,” he said of the additional upper stages.