NASA’s vision of missions to the Red Planet is filled with lots of baby steps. It anticipates to get help from other private companies. One of the more important steps of NASA will be orbiting lunar base construction. And the agency said that it is currently looking to award the contract for the base to one company from five options in 2019.
Associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate William Gerstenmaier said that they hope to get what was called the Deep Space Gateway running. Now, it is called as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, which will be awarded to either Lockheed Martin, Sierra Nevada Corp, Boeing, Orbital ATK, or Space Systems. These five companies are finishing their studies about the process to build it in the best way possible.
The plan is all about the use of Orion module and Space Launch System of the institution. Not only that, it is also about the utilization of the commercial launch partners for the easy gateway parts transport to lunar orbit. It is expected to finish by 2022 according to Gernstenmaier.
When the details about the NASA’s budget were revealed early February, Gerstenmaier added that the Gateway will give them a strategic and awesome presence in space. It will drive their activity with both commercial and foreign partners. It will likewise help them explore the moon and study its resources.
The outpost will have the addition of space, and the power element. It will have the capacity for supporting four astronauts from 30 to 60 days. The gateway will serve as a way station for any eventual missions to different destinations such as the Moon’s surface or the Red Planet.
All the companies competing to build the power element under the NextSTEP of the institution are looking to design it, enabling the gateway to utilize solar electric propulsion, maintaining its better position on the Moon, and adjusting the lunar orbit.
The power element has to offer a variety of communication capability such as space-to-moon, space-to-Earth, and spacecraft-to-spacecraft. The plan will be composed of the laser data transfer to allow for larger and faster delivery of impressive data package.
When it comes the space by 2023, it allows for competition from other NextSTEP partnerships. There will also be other additions for a logistics module, spacewalks, and cargo resupply. The SLS has a goal to be running with the launch of the Exploration Mission-1 in 2019.