NASA Selects Power and Propulsion Module for Upcoming Lunar Gateway

(Image courtesy: Maxar Technologies Inc.)

The NASA  lunar Gateway  – a small lunar-orbit spaces station designed as a communications, science, and short-term habitation outpost – is part of the agency’s “Artemis” mission for reestablishing lunar expeditions by 2024 and developing deep space human exploration technologies. But building that stepping stone is a massive undertaking – one that requires smaller stepping stones to get to.

NASA has announced that Maxar Technologies Inc.  of Westminster, Colorado will provide with the first piece of the space station: Gateway’s power and propulsion element spacecraft. According to the contract – which follows a recently concluded four-month propulsion study – Maxar will design, build, and perform a spaceflight demonstration of the power and propulsion element spacecraft with Blue Origin, LLC  and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. 

The power and propulsion element, based on Maxar’s powerful 1300-class platform, will provide solar electric power for maneuvering, attitude control, communications systems and initial docking capabilities and subsequently move the Gateway between lunar orbits over its lifetime to maximize NASA’s science and exploration operations.

William Kucinski  is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

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