Nasa has awarded a $292m contract to US-based Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for safety engineering, quality assurance and software assurance in support of the agency’s programmes.

The cost-plus-award-fee Safety and Mission Assurance Engineering Contract (SMAEC) II includes core, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, and level of effort elements.

Set to start on 1 June, the contract has a two-year base period, followed by two two-year options.

It will also involve projects at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.

The programmes and projects include the International Space Station, Orion and Commercial Crew Programs, and the Extravehicular Activity Project Office.

“It represents yet another chapter in Stennis’ long history of testing leadership and excellence in support of this nation’s space exploration efforts.”

As part of the contract, SAIC will also provide services at other Nasa centres, US government facilities, contractor or subcontractor locations, or vendor facilities as agreed in the work statement.

In a separate development, Nasa carried out a successful engine test at its Stennis Space Center near Bay St Louis, Mississippi.

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The ‘hot fire’ was the culmination of testing for four years for the RS-25 engines that will send the first four Space Launch System (SLS) rockets into space.

Stennis director Rick Gilbrech said: “It represents yet another chapter in Stennis’ long history of testing leadership and excellence in support of this nation’s space exploration efforts.”

The test is also part of an effort to get the SLS megarocket ready to bring astronauts to the moon in the 2020s for the Lunar Gateway space station.

The hot fire on Stennis’ A-1 Test Stand completed acceptance testing of all 16 former space shuttle main engines and developmental and flightworthy testing for new controllers to be used by the heritage RS-25 engines for the first four missions.

Nasa has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to build new RS-25 engines for additional SLS missions. Work is currently underway in the company’s factory in Canoga Park, California.