The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage,or ICPS,which is the upper stage of the massive Space Launch System deep space rocket,is currently being transported by barge and truck to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,Florida from Alabama.Its destination is the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Operation Center at the Cape.The ICPS is the first piece of integrated SLS hardware that will arrive at the Cape for final processing and testing before shipment to Ground Systems Development Operations at Kennedy Space Center prior to launch on Exploration Mission-1 in the 2018-19 time frame.At the request of the White House,NASA began a formal feasibility study on 17 February 2017 of making EM-1 the first crewed mission of the Orion spacecraft,moving that goal up from 2021.In a more informal study of the question the agency conducted on its own,NASA concluded it would be technically possible to meld the first crewed mission with the EM-1 shakedown mission of the integrated Orion/SLS.The formal review,with input from the Astronaut Office and a lot of consideration of crew safety,will be ready in about a month.*
Designed and built by Boeing in Huntsville,Alabama and United Launch Alliance,a Boeing/Lockheed Martin partnership,in Decatur,Alabama,the ICPS will propel Orion and 13 secondary payloads of CubeSats (small satellites) to a point beyond the Moon,into deep space.If EM-1 is crewed,NASA says there would likely be two crew members on an 8-9 day mission to cislunar space,in a high orbit around the Moon farther out than humans have gone before,where the goal of reaching the Mars system will be advanced through a series of Orion missions.*
Eventually,the ICPS will be replaced by the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage,or EUS,which will be capable of taking astronauts far beyond the Moon,to the Mars system or elsewhere.
Boeing (BA),Lockheed Martin (LMT)