SpaceX to Launch First Moon Space Station Elements in 2024

Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element and Habitation and Logistics Outpost 1 photo
Photo: NASA
In 2024, the Artemis III mission will put human boots once again on the surface of the Moon. That same year, the first elements of what is supposed to be humanity’s first outpost in orbit around a celestial body other than Earth are scheduled for launch.
Gateway is how NASA calls the Moon space station, its most ambitious endeavor ever, and one that is supposed not only to help future missions to the Earth satellite, but also be a staging area for Mars incursions. It would also support scientific experiments, just as the International Space Station (ISS) is doing in Earth orbit.

As with any other space station, Gateway too will comprise a power and propulsion element, as well as habitation, logistics and airlock capabilities. And we now have a date for when the first of these elements will be heading into space.

2024 is when a Falcon Heavy rocket will take off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO). All launch services will be provided by SpaceX, NASA announced earlier this week.

PPE is a 60-kilowatt class solar electric propulsion spacecraft that will in effect become the engine driving the Gateway and move it to different lunar orbits. It will also be in charge of providing power and communications. The company tasked with making it is Maxar Technologies.

HALO is the pressurized quarters where astronauts will work. It’s the command and control module, but also acts as docking hub. HALO is where science investigations will be conducted, but also the place from where the visiting Orion capsules will replenish their life support systems. The module is being built by Northrop Grumman Space Systems.

When the station is fully operational, it will be about one-sixth the size of the ISS.
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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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