The NASA director presented the details of the Artemis program, to launch an astronaut and an astronaut to the moon in 2024 * NASA chose the Maxar company (formerly SSL) to develop components for the "Moon Gate"
During his lecture yesterday (Thursday) by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about over thirty launches expected in the next decade between in preparation for a manned landing on the moon in the Artemis program, he dwelled a lot on a new component that will replace the functions of the Apollo command module, but it will be permanent and will not be re-launched in every flight - building a satellite to the moon from which the landers will leave and descend to its surface. This is the moon gate. Maxar will receive an amount of 375 million dollars for this task.
In his words, Brandenstein emphasized that it is not about building an international space station around the moon, but rather something much more modest that could be used as a starting point for lunar landings, either by NASA, by other space agencies or private companies. As a theoretical example, Brandstein gave the possibility that a billionaire would build moon landings and establish a company that would exploit the moon's resources (which is allowed by a law recently passed in the USA according to which the discovery belongs to the discoverer on the moon as well).
In the first phase, the gate will focus on the minimum requirements to be used for the landing, and the first components will also be the infrastructure for the construction of phase 2, which will provide a strategic presence around the moon and a collection point for astronauts who will return from the moon. Establishing a manned control center around the moon will give the US a strategic advantage, according to him.
The gate will also be a building block for expanding manned capabilities on and around the moon.
"The power and propulsion component is the foundation of the gateway and a beautiful example of how NASA's partnerships with legacy and New Space companies can help accelerate the return of a crew to the Moon by 2024," Bridenstine said. "This will be the main component on which we will build the gateway, the cornerstone of NASA's reusable and sustainable Artemis architecture in lunar exploration and orbiting."
Maxer's task will not be easy, it will be required to supply 50 kilowatts of solar electricity to the electric propulsion system, 3 times more powerful than the current capabilities. The gate will also serve as a communications relay for human and robotic missions to the surface of the moon, with the first mission to the South Pole.
The design of the spacecraft will be completed within the next year and then development, launch and demonstration experiments will be carried out for a year in space during which the spacecraft will be fully owned and operated by Maxar. If the spacecraft is successful, NASA will be able to purchase the spacecraft that will serve as the first component of the gate.
Expansion on the other components of the Artemis program, below