Engineers with Hercules Aerospace are putting the finishing touches on a bid to build the next-generation shuttle rocket boosters in a one-stop shopping offer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
NASA is expected to put out its final request for proposals on the advanced solid rocket motors by the end of August, Roger Blodgett, project manager for the proposal, said Monday.Hercules is working with Atlantic Research Co. on a joint bid to produce the rockets, which will replace the current boosters designed by Morton Thiokol Inc.'s Wasatch Operations facility near Brigham City. Morton Thiokol decided not to compete for the contract.
Hercules and ARC have assembled a team that Blodgett contends offers more experience than any of the other three teams seeking the $1 billion contract.
"It's a very experienced team," the project manager said. "We got Hercules, which has got the biggest, most modern rocket plant in the country, and Atlantic Research has the most experience with the propellent we're using in the shuttle system."
The team also includes Martin Marietta's system engineering and integration and Michoud's steel case fabrication. Add to that Bechtel National, "probably the largest construction contractor in the country. And they've been working on this particular site for a long time," said Blodgett.
The site NASA has selected for the government-owned, contractor-operated rocket plant is in Yellow Creek, Miss., on the Tennessee-Mississippi line, where the Tennessee Valley Authority built but never used a nuclear power plant.
Hercules and ARC recently added Kaiser Aerotech and HITCO to provide the nozzle manufacturing end to the product.
"The two have produced about all the nozzles for the strategic proposal. They are the most well-known nozzle manufacturers in the country," Blodgett said.
The team has 60 days to respond to the bid for final proposals. NASA said it will announce the contract award on Feb. 1, 1989.
"What NASA wants is the ability to build a plant they believe is necessary to make a very reliable motor, and they want to have direct control over the type of technology in the plant," said Blodgett.