NASA is hopeful that missions to Mars will become a reality. The experts understand all too well that constructing an orbiting lunar base is necessary. The agency plans to give the first contract. The candidates are five formidable companies. As of 2019, the awarding should be complete. Here are more details about the plan.
The source of the good news was William Gertensmaier. The man works at NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate as an associate administrator. He was addressing people at the Space Symposium that was held in Colorado Springs in Colorado. He announced that the agency plans to revitalize the Deep Space Gateway. They will ensure that it begins to operate again. Presently, it goes by the name Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway.
The first phase is about constructing the power as well as the propulsion element. The five companies include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Orbital ATK, Space Systems and Sierra Nevada Corp. They are ready because they will soon complete a four-month study. Its focus has been building the orbiting lunar base.
The associate director had expressed its benefits during the revelation of the agency’s budget details back in February. According to him, it would offer the people a chance to explore moon as well as its resources. Eventually, it would help in the undertaking of human missions to Mars.
Equally important, it will not support humans. However, the power element together with later modifications will change that. It will be in a position to accommodate four astronauts for a period ranging between 30 and 60 days. Therefore, it will be an ideal station before people take missions to other places. That may include the surface of the moon and Mars as well.
It will use solar electric propulsion to not only sustain its position around the moon but also rectify its lunar orbit. In addition to that, it will enable various communications. They include those from space to Earth, spacecraft to spacecraft, space to moon and spacecraft to spacewalkers as well. It will use laser data transfer. That method offers a delivery that is fast and which allows the passage of a huge data package.
If things go as planned, it should be up and running by 2025. After that, Mars’ missions would be a walk in the park. Then NASA will have the solution they need for people to visit Mars.