News | May 12, 2021

DCMA lands moon-mission role

By Jason Kaneshiro DCMA Eastern Region Public Affairs

Humanity left its last small steps on the moon’s surface in 1972. After nearly 50 years, America turns its astral gaze toward greater endeavors.

The Defense Contract Management Agency plays a critical role in getting humanity to boldly go where no one has gone before: another world.

“We're going to Mars using Artemis program technology,” said Brian McGinnis, director of DCMA-NASA Product Operations.

DCMA is providing key technical and contract oversight of NASA’s Artemis Program Core Stage Space Launch System, which is scheduled to take people and cargo beyond Earth’s orbit and to the moon by 2024.

“The moon is an incremental step to develop the technologies to get to and survive on the Martian surface,” McGinnis said.

A team of 30 DCMA employees at Michoud Assembly Facility here handled quality assurance oversight during the assembly and testing of the Core Stage Flight and all test articles prior to the Green Run testing at the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, that occurred March 18.

“Several DCMA employees from Michoud Assembly Facility helped to support the preparations for the testing in the test stand,” McGinnis said.

A Green Run test is conducted when all of the engine components for a rocket launch system are assembled into a single unit with the core stage for the first time, and the rockets are fired at near full power.

NASA’s progress toward realizing their off-world mission is reliant upon DCMA’s survey and liaison team’s insight into the space agency’s challenges, said Craig Bennet, DCMA NASA subject matter expert.

“Our SLT support to NASA ensures mission success,” Bennett said.

DCMA personnel have the training and certifications to directly support NASA’s deep-space flight requirements, to include technical expertise that ensures product conformity to unique design and mission specifications throughout NASA’s innovative production process, Bennet said.

In addition to providing quality assurance expertise, DCMA also performed through program integration to coordinate supply chain support.

DCMA also oversaw key manufacturing processes such as friction stir welding and nondestructive test validation of the weld integrity of key components using a phased array ultrasound method, McGinnis said.

According to a NASA fact sheet, their space launch system is the only rocket system capable of sending cargo and personnel to the moon on a single mission. The SLS is also designed to evolve in its role and capabilities to accommodate future missions to Mars and the outer planets of the solar system.

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