NASA has awarded Jacobs a 10-year, $3.4-billion contract to manage launch infrastructure, and operate and maintain ground systems required for flight spacecraft processing at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

The Consolidated Operations, Management, Engineering & Test (COMET) contract extends Jacobs’ role in managing launch infrastructure and ground processing for high-profile programs such as the International Space Station, Exploration Ground Systems—the systems and facilities necessary to assemble, transport, and launch both government and privately funded rockets and spacecraft—and other NASA programs, commercial ventures and partnerships at KSC.

Jacobs will also continue its key role in NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return Americans to the Moon using the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The company is responsible for receiving all SLS and Orion flight hardware, assembling and integrating all the large elements, conducting final tests and checkouts, transporting the rocket and spacecraft to the pad, helping to launch it on the mission, and then supporting the recovery of the Orion spacecraft.

Last fall, the first Artemis mission successfully sent an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to the Moon and back. Artemis 2, scheduled to launch in May 2024, will send four astronauts on a similar lunar orbital mission for up to three weeks.

The COMET contract will also include upgrades to existing facilities and infrastructure as well as development of new systems required to support the crewed Artemis missions. To prepare for Artemis, Jacobs oversaw upgrades to the Vehicle Assembly Building, modifications at Launch Pad 39B and refurbishment of the tracked crawler-transporters that transport the launch vehicle between the two locations.

In addition to serving as NASA’s largest services contractor at multiple agency centers, Jacobs is the top design firm in the aerospace market based on ENR rankings. According to the company, its services include design and construction; base, mission and launch operations; sustaining capital maintenance; secure and intelligent asset management; and development, modification and testing processes for fixed assets supporting national government, military, defense and NASA, as well as commercial space companies. 

Steve Arnette, Jacobs executive vice president and president of its Critical Mission Solutions unit, notes the firm's support of Space Shuttle facilities and ground systems in preparation for the recent first Artemis flight. "We look forward to supporting NASA’s mission advancing U.S. efforts to establish a long-term human presence in deep space.”