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Northrop buys trio of SpaceX launches as it upgrades Antares rocket

FILE PHOTO: A Northrop Grumman building is shown in El Segundo, California

By Joey Roulette

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Northrop Grumman has signed a launch deal with Elon Musk's SpaceX to send three cargo missions to the International Space Station while the company builds an upgraded version of its workhorse Antares rocket, a Northrop spokeswoman said on Monday.

The launch agreement with SpaceX coincides with Northrop climbing out of a months-long predicament with its workhorse Antares rocket, whose Russian-made engines were cut off from the United States in March by Moscow in retaliation for Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

"The launches will take place in late 2023 and 2024 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida in support of the NG-20, -21 and -22 CRS missions," Northrop spokeswoman Ellen Klicka said in an email.

(Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)