The US space agency NASA is getting ready to start the construction of the much-hyped lunar space station. The name of the lunar space station is Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. As per the latest reports, NASA is planning start construction of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway in 2019. NASA’s main aim is to send humans back to the moon and from there it will send missions to Mars and beyond.
For that, a deep space gateway is necessary which will be fulfilled by the upcoming lunar space station to be built by NASA. NASA has devised plans for its upcoming lunar space station. It has announced that it will give the contracts of building the first components of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway in early 2019. Actually, the space gateway will be sent to the lunar orbit in two phases. NASA will first make the power and propulsion elements that will power the gateway and then send it to space.
After that, the space agency will start building the habitual components for the lunar space station and will send them to the moon by 2022. According to NASA, the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will get fully functional by 2025. Unlike the International Space Station (ISS), which orbits in the low-Earth orbit, the deep space gateway will travel along Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). The NRHO will make the lunar platform closely pass through the moon as well as loop far enough into space so that it could remain in contact with NASA and also get the maximum sunlight required for solar energy generation.
Harley Thronson, a senior technologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said, A Gateway in the vicinity of the moon has been the goal of scientists and designers of space exploration scenarios for almost two decades. According to NASA, only four people can reside inside the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway and they need to finish their research and experiments within 30 days. NASA scientists are trying their best to make the lunar space station operational by 2025 so that they could plan missions to Mars and beyond.
Dr. Richard Binzel, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, “If we’re ever to go to Mars, we have to learn how to operate far from the Earth. We need that operational experience. And I think that is the motivation for the Deep Space Gateway — to gain operational experience away from the comfort zone of low-Earth orbit.”
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