News Releases

Text Size

Michael Curie
Headquarters, Washington

Steve Roy
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

April 30, 2008
NASA Awards External Tank Contract Modification
WASHINGTON -- NASA has signed a $39.5 million contract modification with Lockheed Martin Space Systems, New Orleans, to implement an external tank program employee retention plan. Incentives are being provided to eligible external tank personnel to ensure mission success and construction of the remaining external tanks to support Space Shuttle Program requirements through September 2010.

Retention of the knowledgeable and skilled external tank workforce is necessary to produce the remaining shuttle hardware and safely execute all remaining contract requirements. This modification supports the agency's priorities of safely flying the space shuttle and completing construction of the International Space Station.

The contract will end September 30, 2010. This modification brings the total value of the contract, awarded in October 2000, to $2.967 billion. The contract calls for the delivery of 18 external tanks to NASA. Eleven tanks remain to be delivered.

Work will be performed at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans; NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.; and NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Lockheed Martin builds, assembles and tests the space shuttle external tanks for NASA at the Michoud facility. The external tank holds the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen for the shuttle's three main engines. It is the largest single component of the space shuttle and the only part of the shuttle that is not reused.

At 154 feet tall, the tank is taller than a 15-story building, with a diameter of about 27.5 feet. During launch, the tank acts as the structural backbone for the shuttle orbiter and the solid rocket boosters attached to it. For more information about NASA's Space Shuttle Program, visit:

- end -

text-only version of this release

NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending a blank e-mail message to To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send a blank e-mail message to

Back to NASA Newsroom | Back to NASA Homepage