NASA’s Johnson Space Center has awarded to Raytheon Company on the 21st of August a contract extension with a potential value of $101.9 million. Raytheon will continue to provide operations, maintenance and engineering services for up to four years to NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) and Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF), facilities that are critical to safe human spaceflight.
NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) in Houston, Texas. The NBL is the pool NASA uses for astronaut spacewalk training and testing scenarios and new equipment. Raytheon provides maintenance and operations support at the facility.
The NBL is the deep water pool astronauts use for spacewalk training. The SVMF hosts full-size mockups and simulators for the International Space Station, Orion capsule and commercial space modules. Both facilities are used to test scenarios and new equipment for human spaceflight.
"The extension allows Raytheon to continue its excellent performance record for this critical space mission support program," said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Information, Intelligence and Services. "We will continue to partner closely with NASA and provide the innovative solutions required for our country’s space programs."
Raytheon is at the two facilities 24/7, running real-time mission scenarios that help International Space Station astronauts deal with spaceflight challenges. In addition to day-to-day operations and maintenance, Raytheon will execute service life extension programs for mockups operating in a dynamic underwater environment.
"Raytheon’s dedicated partnership with NASA has led to the highest standard of overall systems reliability and a world-class safety rating at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab and Space Vehicle Mockup Facility," said Todd Probert, vice president of mission support and modernization at Raytheon IIS. "We are committed to efficient and effective support for these high-consequence human spaceflight missions."
One way Raytheon helps NASA lower costs and maintain the critical skills base needed for support future space exploration is by increasing commercial uses for the NBL. Its fully-instrumented underwater environment is now being used by a variety of commercial customers to test new equipment and conduct safety training. The facility has been used for testing and training on unmanned submersibles, underwater pipeline repairs, deep-water survival and underwater helicopter escape. Potential external customers for this unique facility include the oil and gas, commercial space and defense industries.
Raytheon IIS captured more than $2.5 billion in space contracts so far this year, including another NASA contract for managing an earth science data system, a U.S. Air Force space launch range contract and a NORAD contract for a variety of support services.