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.