The Lunar Gateway will be a space station in a lunar orbit primarily for getting astronauts and cargo to the surface of the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
The space agency is using various private firms to develop various Gateway modules, the first of which will be should be deployed in the mid-2020s.
NASA recently shared a fascinating video (below) that reveals the complexity of its ambitious plan to build and maintain the Gateway.
An international collaboration between NASA and its partners in Canada, Europe, and Japan, the animation shows the orbital outpost taking shape over time, with various astronaut voyages using the new Orion spacecraft also part of the timeline.
The video includes, for example, the arrival of the first two Gateway components: the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO).
After that comes the International Habitation module (I-HAB) and the first visit by Orion when four astronauts will enter the Lunar Gateway for the first time.
After Orion leaves to take the astronauts home, a Logistics Module will deliver an external robotics system built by Canada. This will enable astronauts to carry out work on the outside of the station, similar to how it happens today in low-Earth orbit on the International Space Station.
SpaceX will then send the Human Landing System (HLS). This modified Starship rocket will transport the first woman and first person of color to the surface of the moon, probably before the end of this decade. The historic moment will also mark the first crewed lunar landing since the groundbreaking Apollo missions five decades ago.
The video goes on to show multiple modules coming and going, some with astronauts, some with supplies, and some with cargo for building the first human lunar base for long-term stays on our nearest neighbor.
For space fans, there is much to look forward to as NASA and its partners enter a new era of deep space exploration that’s expected to lead to the first crewed visit to Mars sometime in the 2030s.
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