NASA Aims To Launch & Build Lunar Station By 2025
The race for interplanetary colonization is on! NASA has reviled plans to build a base orbiting Earth’s Moon. This was announced as part of NASA’s 2019 budget proposal. The space agency is planning to spend lots of US taxpayer dollars to develop what it will call a “Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway”.
The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will act as a staging area intended for studies of the moon and the deep-space environment. Eventually, it will function as a way station for astronauts traveling to and from Mars.
Keep in mind that we currently have the International Space Station (ISS) floating arounds Earth’s orbit. The ISS is a joint project spear headed by five space agencies: NASA (US), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (European Union), and CSA (Canada). The ISS has seen as many as 230 visiting astronauts from 18 participating countries since it launched in 1998.
The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will consist of at least a power and propulsion unit, habitation unit, logistics, and airlock units. The specific technical details – as well as commercial & international partners are still under consideration.
The power and propulsion element will be the first component of the project to be assembled, targeted to launch in 2022. The power and propulsion element will use an advanced high-power solar electric propulsion. This element will allow the station to maintain its position and move the station around the moon’s orbit over its lifetime.
“The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will give us a strategic presence in space. It will drive our activity with commercial and international partners and help us explore the Moon and its resources,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We will ultimately translate that experience toward human missions to Mars.”
We could see the completed platform orbiting the Moon as soon as 2025. With that said, I think the real question on everyone’s mind is what side of the “force” will this interplanetary system be on?
Light or dark?