Northrop Taps SpaceX for Cargo Launches Ahead of Antares Upgrade

Northrop Grumman Corp. has purchased three Falcon 9 launches from Elon Musk’s SpaceX as Northrop works to replace Russian-made rocket engines on its own vehicle that ferries cargo to the International Space Station.

The launch pact will allow Northrop to continue cargo resupply missions as it readies an upgraded version of its Antares rocket with startup Firefly Aerospace, a spokesman for the defense giant said Monday. Russia halted sales of rocket engines to the US after Russia’s military invaded Ukraine, pushing some space companies to seek alternatives.