Gateway Space Station – A Quick Overview

Gateway is a small, human-tended space station orbiting the Moon that will provide extensive capabilities to support NASA’s Artemis campaign. Built with international and commercial partnerships, Gateway’s capabilities for supporting sustained exploration and research in deep space include docking ports for a variety of visiting spacecraft, space for crew to live and work, and on-board science investigations to study heliophysics, human health, and life sciences, among other areas. Gateway will be a critical platform for developing technology and capabilities to support Moon and Mars exploration in the coming years.

Gateway will be humanity’s first space station in lunar orbit to support NASA’s deep space exploration plans, along with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, Orion spacecraft, and the Human Landing System (HLS) that will send astronauts to the Moon.

NASA has focused Gateway development on the first two elements of Gateway – the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) – which will launch together on a commercially procured launch vehicle.

Power and Propulsion Element

The Power and Propulsion Element is a high-power, 60-kilowatt solar electric propulsion spacecraft that will provide power, high-rate communications, attitude control, and orbital transfer capabilities for the Gateway.

Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO)

HALO is where astronauts will live and conduct research while visiting Gateway. The pressurized living quarters will provide command and control systems for the lunar outpost, and docking ports for visiting spacecraft, such as NASA’s Orion spacecraft, lunar landers, and logistics including hosting science investigations via internal and external payload accommodations, and communicating with lunar surface expeditions.

HALO also will enable the aggregation of additional habitable elements to expand Gateway capabilities, leveraging contributions from Gateway’s international partners. Batteries provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will power HALO until PPE solar arrays can be deployed and during eclipse periods. Robotic interfaces provided by the Canadian Space Agency will host payloads and provide base points for Canadarm3 robotic operations. ESA (European Space Agency) will provide a lunar communications system to enable high-data-rate communications between the lunar surface and Gateway.

Gateway Science

Gateway will provide unique options for Earth science, heliophysics, lunar and planetary sciences, life sciences, astrophysics, and fundamental physics investigations by allowing extended views of the Earth, Sun, Moon, and space not possible from Earth’s surface or from
Earth orbit.

Initial Launch

SpaceX will provide launch services for the integrated PPE and HALO spacecraft. After integration on Earth, PPE and HALO are targeted to launch together no earlier than November 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy.

Gateway’s Future

As astronauts prepare for missions to the lunar surface, they will need deliveries of critical pressurized and unpressurized cargo, science experiments and supplies like sample collection materials. SpaceX has been selected as the first US commercial provider under the Gateway Logistics Services contract to deliver cargo and other supplies to Gateway. One logistics services delivery is anticipated for each crewed Artemis mission to Gateway.

Source: NASA


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