Northrop Grumman is partnering with Texas-based Firefly Aerospace to make the change. The companies will produce an upgraded version of the rocket, as well as a new rocket. The aerospace giant said Monday it will move Antares production fully to the U.S.

Northrop Grumman and Firefly Aerospace will jointly produce an upgraded version of the Antares rocket. Northrop will provide the A330's upper stage, avionics, software, and launch site operations. The deal also helps ensure NASA's cargo missions to the International Space Station keep flying regularly.

Firefly will supply seven engines and build the A330's largest structure, the first stage booster. The schedule still leaves a minimum gap of 12 months between the last 230+ launch and the 330's debut. Northrop Grumman has been launching NASA cargo missions to the International Space Station about every six months.

Northrop Grumman has purchased three launches on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets to continue flying Cygnus cargo missions. The company has Antares rockets for two more cargo missions, scheduled for this fall and spring 2023. Northrop and Firefly's partnership also has a longer-term goal of building a new rocket.

Firefly has been working on the deal with Northrop Grumman for about a year. The rocket's debut last year failed mid-flight. The company is looking to replace the Antares with a new rocket that can launch into space. The new rocket will have a range of more than 1,000 miles.
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