NASA has a goal of returning to the moon, and it would be soon. The agency would award its first contract for the moon mission next year.
NASA plans to build a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway that will consist of habitation, airlock capabilities, power and propulsion element, and logistics. The gateway will help to explore the moon. The first component of the gateway that will launch is the power and propulsion element. The launch is scheduled for 2022.
The habitation elements are the next component to work on after the power and propulsion element is completed. The habitation element will launch in 2023, and this will aid in exploration. NASA is also anticipating that adding the airlock will facilitate spacewalks.
NASA will also launch one logistics module that will enable the crew to deliver cargo supplies. The agency expects the platform to be capable of supporting team aboard as they live and work in deep space for at least 30 days.
This element will facilitate better communication for the gateway; the element will also allow interactions between space and earth and spacecraft. The gateway will serve as a medium for Astronauts’ moon voyages.
It is estimated that the gateway will orbit the moon by the year 2025. The platform will go on a thirty- day mission with four astronauts aboard.
NASA in an attempt to develop a higher power source to power future trips contracted five companies to research into high-power solar-electric propulsion systems. NASA expects to generate a power system that that is at least three times the capabilities of the current ones.
The Orion will transport crew to the platform and back. The Orion is a spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin. The Orion along with a European service module will facilitate voyages to the platform.
Speaking at the Space Symposium, the Associate Administrator, William Gerstenmaier, said that the funding of the platform is not a big issue since the expenditure for the building of the lunar platform is already in NASA’s budget. He said the project does not need any new substantial external funding.
He used the opportunity to touch on the fact that NASA is realistic in its financial planning strategies.
NASA is anticipating that their missions will facilitate landing into deeper space. They want these missions to take them farther than they have ever been. According to Gerstenmaier, the lunar mission is not the goal.