NASA to start building its lunar space station in 2019

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 21, 2018

NASA will first make the power and propulsion elements that will power the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. It will carry a four-astronaut crew on 30-day missions, he said.

The NASA officials are targeting to make the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway fully orbital by 2025. With the help of lunar space station, NASA can plan missions to Mars and beyond.

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway was revealed as a concept back in the year 2017 but now with all the focus being on sending humans to the moon again, NASA has chose to start building the lunar space station in the year 2019 and send it to the lunar orbit by 2025. NASA expects to begin launching them toward the Moon (it won't happen all at once) in 2022, just a few years down the road.

Also of particular interest to NASA are the nuances of the moon's gravity, which could be instrumental in reducing re-entry speeds to Earth for spacecraft making back-and-forth trips to Mars.

"We want to understand orbital mechanics around the moon a little better, far from the Earth's deep gravity well". "Doing things in this region, where gravity isn't such a big driver ... is a different way of operating".

The main objective is to get another astronaut on the moon and see if the water near the surface of the moon can be used as an ingredient for spacecraft propellant in deep-space missions.

Once the lunar space station is ready for use, astronauts will be sent to the platform via the Orion, which is being assembled by Lockheed Martin, with a service module courtesy of the European Space Agency. The first Orion space craft launch, scheduled to take place next year, will be an unmanned mission where the probe will serve as the command deck when it gets docked with the lunar space station.

Noting that huge cash outlays - often the bane of federally-funded space exploration - are not now necessary, Gernstenmaier remarked that LOP-G has "fiscal realism, and it's also adaptable", cited by Bloomberg. "It's not a rigid program of one mission following another", he added, in reference to the expensive US Apollo space program.

NASA's new roadmap is in line with President Trump's budget proposal for 2019, which requires the space agency to work toward returning to the moon as a first priority. "As long as we view the moon as a stepping stone and not an end goal, I think we're OK", Gernstenmaier said. The Trump administration has proposed ending United States funding of the International Space Station in 2024.

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