Hexcel says that its composite materials have been selected by Northrop Grumman to produce the Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension (BOLE) boosters for Artemis 9.

According to the company, Northrop is “working to address space launch system obsolescence issues in booster design and manufacturing”. Hexcel says that upgrading boosters using lightweight Hexcel carbon fiber and prepreg cold improve performance, benefitting future lunar campaigns, science missions, and the eventual Mars campaign.

Plans are for the new boosters to replace the steel cases previously used for the space shuttle systems with a weight-saving composite case and upgraded structures, electronic thrust vector control systems and propellant materials to address obsolescence. They will be deployed first in the human-led Artemis 9 mission to the lunar south pole, taking place before 2025.