Systima Technologies says it’s been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin Space Systems to provide pyrotechnically actuated hatch mechanisms for NASA’s Orion deep-space crew capsule.
The mechanisms will be part of a side hatch latch release system that would come into play in the event of an emergency landing condition after splashdown, the Kirkland, Wash.-based company said in a news release.
The Orion is currently in the midst of development, leading up to Exploration Mission-1, an uncrewed test flight beyond the moon and back that’s planned for the 2020 time frame. That would be followed by the first crewed flight, known as Exploration Mission-2, currently scheduled for as early as 2022. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the multibillion-dollar Orion development program.
The mechanism that Systima is working on would be used on the EM-2 flight.
After more than a week of delays, the National Reconnaissance Office was glad to see its latest spy satellite go into orbit on Oct. 15 — and so was Kirkland, Wash.-based Systima Technologies.
When a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launched the NROL-52 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Systima’s pyrotechnic valves played a mission-critical role as part of the reaction control system on the rocket’s Centaur upper stage.
“This marks the first flight of Systima’s pyrovalves, RCS hardware, as well as the first time Systima has supported an Atlas 5 launch,” Taylor Banks, Systima’s controller and contracts manager, told GeekWire in an email. “Systima is thrilled to be part of the ULA team and would like to congratulate all that supported the successful mission.”
When NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket starts carrying astronauts beyond Earth orbit in the 2020s, it’ll also be carrying a key component built by Kirkland, Wash.-based Systima Technologies.
Systima will be responsible for providing a 27.6-foot-wide, ring-shaped joint assembly that separates the rocket’s universal stage adapter from its upper stage. The assembly will allow for the deployment of cargo and secondary payloads from the SLS once it rises into orbit.
Systima won the contract for the separation joint system this month from Dynetics, an Alabama-based company that’s the prime contractor for the universal stage adapter. The value of Systima’s contract is undisclosed, but it’s part of NASA’s $221.7 million contract with Dynetics.