The winner of contract to build the next lunar spacecraft will be announced this afternoon. The project is now called Orion, but many in the industry still know it as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, or CEV. Regarding the contract:

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Northrop Grumman Corp., maker of the vehicle that landed a man on the moon 37 years ago, may beat out Lockheed Martin Corp. for a $4.5 billion contract to build the next lunar spacecraft.

The new vehicle, called Orion, is the centerpiece of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's $122 billion effort to return to the moon as early as 2018. Northrop is the leading contender for the award to be announced today, analysts including J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.'s Joseph Nadol said.

Not only is the contract worth a lot of money, but the project itself should be very exciting. One of the most interesting features of the announcement is that NASA has been so good at keeping the secret, after telling Congress who they selected over a month ago.



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