Lockheed Martin Builds Prototype Habitat for NASA’s Moon Space Station

Habitat Ground Test Article interior 3 photos
Photo: Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin habitat built for NASA's GatewayLockheed Martin habitat built for NASA's Gateway
In the not so distant future, a man-made structure will be orbiting the Moon, ensuring round-the-clock human presence in an outpost called Gateway. This week, the first tangible part of the Gateway was presented by Lockheed Martin.
Called Habitat Ground Test Article (HGTA), the structure was created inside of a repurposed cargo container and is currently located at the Kennedy Space Center.

The container is a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) called Donatello. It was supposed to be installed on the International Space Station in the glory days of the space shuttle but never made it to orbit.

Now it’s sitting in NASA’s back yard, tampered with by Lockheed and awaiting a transfer to NASA’s engineers for a proper assessment.

The first trial by fire of the module will take place in the week of March 25, when a team of NASA astronauts will seal themselves in to live and work isolated from the rest of the world for a few days.

Work on the project began in early 2018 and involved the use of high tech gadgetry and tools to make the container suitable for space exploration purposes.

All parties involved hope the habitat will work as planned. Should that be the case, Lockheed Martin will move on to the next stage of the development of such systems for the actual Gateway.

"Getting back to the Moon, and eventually Mars, is no small feat, but our team are mission visionaries," said in a statement Bill Pratt, Lockheed Martin Space NextSTEP program manager.

"They have worked to apply lessons learned from our experience with deep space robotic missions to this first-of-its-kind spacecraft around the Moon."

NASA is currently working with several private companies for the development of the Gateway: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Space Systems.

In the beginning, the Gateway will be comprised of at least a power and propulsion element, as well as habitation, logistics and airlock capabilities.

When fully operational, it will act as a staging area for missions to the Moon and Mars.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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