Vehicle Information

NLS II Contract

The NLS II contract is the primary mechanism to procure a launch service for NASA and NASA-sponsored payloads. Generally, the payloads to be launched will support the goals and objectives of NASA's Science and Space Operations Mission Directorates.

This contract replaces the former NLS contract and includes some significant changes relative to both the available launch vehicles as well as the performance. We have updated this site with the new data, so please use this to become familiar with the new vehicles, data and ground rules. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Vehicle Configurations

Configuration Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Fairing Diameter Payload Interface
Antares 230 2 RD-181 Engines CASTOR 30XL - 3.9 m (155 in) 1194 mm (47 in)

Optional (Non-Standard) Services

The following non-standard services are not intended as a comprehensive list of all those available; they are intended to highlight major configuration, interface or launch site changes that significantly affect cost and/or the mission design.


  • Antares 231 is a variant of the 230 configuration that utilizes a bi-propellant third stage (BTS)
  • Antares 232 is a variant of the 230 configuration that utilizes a STAR 48BV solid upper stage


  • RUAG 937S clamp-band separation system
  • RUAG 1666VS clamp-band separation system
  • 1575 mm non-separating mechanical interface

Launch Site:

  • There are currently no alternate sites to the standard service, Wallops Flight Facility (WFF)

Additional Vehicle Information

Click here to visit the Launch Service Contractor's vehicle information website. Most providers offer an electronic payload planner's guide, which may be available for download on their site.

Note: The LSC websites are owned and operated by entities other than NASA; therefore the contents and access requirements for information on their sites may change at any time. The links have been provided as a source for additional information regarding the launch vehicles (configurations, operations, mechanical/electrical interfaces, etc) but should be used with caution. There may be differences between the information presented on the LSC website and what is available as a standard service through the NLS II contract. In these instances, the NLS II data is what has been contractually obligated to NASA.

Please refer to the acronym list for additional assistance on terms and definitions.