NASA’s lunar space station has gained a new famous partner.
The European Space Agency (ESA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday (October 27) formalizing cooperation with the Gateway, an outpost planned by NASA in lunar orbit. Artemis program Crude of the Moon expedition.
Under this new agreement, ESA will provide the gateway with a residence module and a refueling module, and when the hardware is up and running, it will be operated by a European agency. The ESA contribution will also include two additional service modules for NASA’s Orion capsule, which will launch Artemis astronauts from Earth from the top of the engine. Space launch system (SLS) Rocket.
In return, the ESA gets three flight opportunities for European astronauts to launch and board. Gateway.
NASA Manager Jim Bridenstine said, “This partnership leverages the outstanding cooperation that the International Space Station has established as we make our way to the moon.” Said in a statement teaoday. “Gateway will continue to expand NASA’s cooperation with international partners like ESA to ensure that the Artemis program can safely and sustainably explore the moon after its first lunar landing.”
The first crew landings are scheduled for 2024, near the lunar Antarctic. The Gateway is unlikely to be involved in that epic touchdown, but NASA expects orbital outposts to play a major role in Artemis’ long-term goal of building a sustainable human presence on and around the lunar surface.
NASA officials said the gateway, which will be about a sixth the size of the International Space Station, will serve as a staging point and a jump point for travel to the lunar surface for crew and crewless missions.
Kathy Lueders, Director of Human Exploration and Operations Missions at NASA’s headquarters, said, “The gateway is designed to be complemented with additional features provided by our international partners to support sustainable exploration.” “The Gateway will give us more opportunities to explore the lunar surface than ever before. We are excited to see partners like ESA join us in this groundbreaking effort.”
The first two parts of the gateway, the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), will be released together in November 2023. These elements will be built by a US company, and Maxar Technologies is the Northrop Grumman that makes up PPE and HALO.
The European Habitat Module, known as I-Hab, does more than just augment HALO. ESA officials say that I-Hab will be “a prime habitat for astronauts to visit the Gateway.” Said in a statement today. I-Hab will incorporate contributions from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and will feature two docking ports for crew landers, NASA officials said.
The human lander will be built by one or more American companies. Earlier this year, NASA signed an agreement with a group of three individuals: Dynetics, SpaceX and The National Team, led by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Crew lander concept development. The agency is expected to select one or more of these ideas for further development in early 2021.
An ESA-supplied refueling module called Esprit provides a large window similar to the Cupola made in Europe. International space station, An ESA official said. In addition to its refueling role, Esprit will enhance the Gateway’s communication capabilities.
In an ESA statement, ESA Director Jan Wörner said in an ESA statement, “This MoU marks an important point in the European trajectory. This confirms that we are going to the moon with our people, not just in terms of equipment and technology,” said ESA in a statement.
“Europe, together with NASA and our partners, will play a central role in the new era of global space exploration, providing exemplary and groundbreaking architecture to explore the Moon and Mars and inspire the next generation,” Wörner said.
The newly announced MoU adds to Artemis’ international feel. For example, earlier this month NASA announced that 8 countries Signed the Artemis Agreement, A set of principles that describe responsible lunar exploration, which sets out how these countries can participate in the Artemis programme.
Editor’s Note: In the original version of this story, it said that PPE and HALO will be launched together on an SLS rocket. It’s not like that. Commercial providers are expected to be released.
Mike Wall is the author of the book “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustration: Karl Tate) on exploring extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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