Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway

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Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) is a moon orbiting space station and human spaceflight destination in cislunar space. Formerly known as Deep Space Gateway.

Deep Space Gateway Picture

What is the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway?

Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) is an International Space program to develop a space station near the moon.

Uses

The Lunar Gateway will be used as a staging point for lunar exploration and as a staging station for the Deep Space Transport (proposed).

Specs:

Crew: 4
Components / Modules: at least 3.

Components

1. Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) will be used to generate electricity for the space station and its solar electric propulsion. It maybe launch on a commercial vehicle in 2022.

Weight: 8,000kg – 10,000kg

Would it be better to 20,00kg and launched by SLS Block 1.

PPE to include initial lunar telecommunication capabilities.

2. Habitation Module:

Used to dock crew spacecraft like Orion (USA) and Federation (Russia). Orion Spacecraft maybe launched on NASA’s Exploration Mission 3.

3. Logistics Module: Used to store cargo and experiments. It may include a Canadian robotic arm. It may be launched on Exploration Mission 4.

4. Airlock Module: The Russian’s will be supplying the > It might be launched on NASA’s Exploration Mission 5.

What other features could they introduce in the future?

Fuel Depot
Lunar Base
Orbital Transfer Vehicle for crew / cargo from LEO to Moon orbit.

About the Gateway

The platform should be orbiting the moon in 2025. NASA plan to visit the Gateway with a crew of four-astronaut on 30-day missions initially.

The Gateway will function as a transportation node. In the future it may be also used as a propellant depot for moon, asteroids, mars or other missions in the solar system. One option the propellant depot may be built as a separate spacecraft and follow the gateway some distance for safety reasons.

The gateway can also be used as platform to send human moon lander landing missions by NASA and Russia.

The moon’s gravity could also help a spacecraft reduce the blistering speeds used for six-month voyages back-and-forth to Mars, thus facilitating re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

The Gateway will be developed, serviced and utilised in collaboration with commercial and international partners for use as a staging ground for robotic and crewed lunar surface missions, asteroid missions, Planet Mars missions or to its moons and the Asteroid Belt.

The USA plans to use the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft to transfer crew to the Gateway. SLS will be used also to cargo and modules to the Gateway.

Russia plans to use the Proton rocket, Angara-5 rocket, Soyuz-5 and its Super Heavy rocket to carry crew / cargo to the Gateway.

Europe may use Ariane-5 to send cargo spacecraft or modules to the gateway.

The gateway is necessary to achieving the ambitious exploration campaign goals set forth by Space Policy Directive 1. Through partnerships both domestic and international, NASA will bring innovation and new approaches to the advancement of these U.S. human spaceflight goals.

NASA’s first spending for the platform will be for power and propulsion elements early next year, followed by habitation components.

The first contract to build components of the Gateway maybe awarded in 2019.

Time Line

2022:  Launch Power and Propulsion Element

Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway assembly starts by launching the Power and Propulsion Element on a launch vehicle either Space Launch System Block 1 or SpaceX Falcon Heavy.

2024 Launch Habitat 1 to Gateway

The first habitat maybe co-launched with a crew on Space Launch System Block 1B during EM-3 mission.

2025: First Logistics Resupply

The same vehicle can also be used as a habitat and storage area. Maybe launched on Space Launch System Block 1B during EM-4 mission.

2026: Launch Airlock Module to Gateway

The Airlock maybe developed by Russians. It maybe delivered to the Gateway on Space Launch System Block 1B during EM-5 mission.

2027  (Mission 1 of 2) Launch of Deep Space Transport (DST) to Gateway

A Space Launch System Block 1B will launch DST in 1 piece to the Gateway during EM-6 mission.

2027 (Mission 2 of 2) Deep Space Transport Crewed Checkout Mission

A Space Launch System Block 1B will launch a crew with 10T Logistics to DST on EM-7 mission.

2028 First Launch Deep Space Transport Cargo Logistics and Refuelling

This will be the first dedicated Cargo / Refuelling uncrewed mission to DST. It will be launched by Space Launch System Block 1B on EM-8

2029 Deep Space Transport One Year Cruise Test

Crew will launch to DST on  pace Launch System Block 1B aboard Orion Spacecraft on EM-9 mission on a shake-down cruise in Cislunar Space.

2030 2nd Launch of Deep Space Transport Cargo Logistics and Refuelling

This will be the second dedicated Cargo / Refuelling uncrewed mission to DST. It will be launched by Space Launch System Block 1B on EM-10.

2033 First Deep Space Transport Cruise for injection into Planet Mars orbit.

Crew will launch to DST on  pace Launch System Block 1B aboard Orion Spacecraft on EM-11 mission on the first human mission to Mars.

Please note this schedule was added in August 2018 and may change in the future.

Gateway Functions

NASA’s gateway concept distributes necessary functions across high-level capabilities: a power and propulsion (and communication) element (PPE), habitation/utilization, logistics resupply, airlock, and robotics. An effective habitation/utilization capability comprises pressurized volume containing integrated habitation systems and components, docking ports, environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS), avionics and control systems, radiation mitigation and monitoring, fire safety systems, autonomous capabilities, utilization, and crew health capabilities, including exercise equipment.

Gateway Architecture

NASA is studying various architectures in creating the gateway.

First Lunar Gateway Element. NASA

NASA has released a draft solicitation seeking commercial and international partners via the Board Agency Announcement (BAA) this week to US industry to acquire an element for the Gateway.The Gateway will support exploration on and near the Moon and beyond, including Mars, NASA said in a statement.

NASA is targeting launch of the power and propulsion element on a partner-provided commercial rocket in 2022.

NASA is seeking a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed. It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications.

The power and propulsion element will enable high-rate, reliable communications between Earth and deep space, which will be important during spacewalks in deep space, human exploration of the lunar surface and more.

Habitat Designs

They going to use potential commercial design concepts initiated under NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) habitation development activity. The purpose of the NextSTEP habitation development activity includes establishing public-private partnerships with U.S. industry to allow NASA to leverage their capabilities and investigate enabling crew habitation needs for a cislunar gateway.

In support of this effort, the six U.S. companies are developing full-size cislunar habitat ground prototypes which will allow NASA and the NextSTEP habitation partners to:

1) evaluate configurations and habitability attributes of the concepts;

2) assess how the various systems interact together and with other capabilities like logistics modules and airlocks; and

3) provide platforms to test and ensure that the standards and common interfaces being considered are comprehensive and enable the intended interoperability. Additionally, NASA completed targeted studies in partnership wth five U.S. companies on technical requirements drivers and ideas on business approaches for the PPE. In parallel to the domestic efforts, NASA is continuing a conceptual gateway study together with its ISS partners. NASA is incorporating the spaceflight experience, engineering expertise and potential contributions of our ISS partners in the gateway architecture concept analysis.

By the summer 2018, the goal is to have the distribution of functions across all partners (domestic and International) sufficient to begin design and acquisition work on gateway for the remaining elements beyond the PPE. The requirements for the future gateway elements can be developed serially once the functional allocations are agreed to this summer.

Candidate Partner Contributions

NASA will remain the overall lead as gateway architect, systems integrator, and operator.

NASA and partner contributions may include:

– Crew Transportation Elements:

Orion Spacecraft (USA)
Federation Spacecraft (Russia)

Launch Vehicles

NASA’s Space Launch System
Russia’ Super Heavy Rocket.

Other commercial vehicles may be used like Falcon Heavy, New Glenn, Vulcan Rocket.

Human Landing on the Moon

NASA and Russia plan to create their own Human Moon landers. NASA may procure its version via commercial space companies. Russia’s Luna Lander might be developed by Energia. At the moment there is no news if Khrunichev will have its own competing design.

Landing humans on the moon will help determine whether water near the surface could be used to manufacture propellant for deep-space missions.

In the future a fuel depot maybe created in the south pole. Japan has expressed an interest to build one.

Deep Space Transport

Deep Space Transport (DST) is NASA’s crewed interplanetary spacecraft concept to support science exploration missions to Planet Mars. Various concepts have been studied. The vehicle may use Solar Electric Propulsion, Deep Space Habitat and Orion Spacecraft.

The Deep Space Transport would depart and return from the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway and be serviced and reused for a new Mars mission.

This will be part of Deep Space Transport page at later stage)

Deep Space Transport (proposed) which is a concept of a reusable vehicle that uses electric and chemical propulsion and would be specifically designed for crewed missions to destinations such as Mars.

LOCKHEED MARTIN Mars Base Camp

The Mars Base Camp concept is a bold and achievable plan to transport scientist-astronauts from Earth to Mars to answer fundamental science questions and prepare for a human landing.

Using two Orion crew modules as the cornerstone, the initial mission crew would explore the moons of Mars and tele-robotically operate assets on the surface of Mars, including the return of Mars samples to the orbiting base camp. Follow-on missions would include a re-usable, single stage, crewed, descent and ascent vehicle to perform sortie missions to the Mars surface.

Before going to Mars, the base camp elements would be assembled and tested in the cislunar proving ground, evolving from Lockheed Martin’s designs for NASA’s Deep-Space Gateway in orbit around the Moon. Mars Base Camp would build upon existing deep space technologies in development today and provide a blueprint for NASA’s Journey to Mars. This plan prioritizes significant scientific discovery, evolution of specific mission objectives, and astronaut safety.

Lead to a crewed flight with a telerobotic Mars sample return mission.

History

Originally the Gateway was going to be part of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, however it was cancelled.

Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) was formerly called Deep Space Gateway. It was renamed in NASA’s proposal for the 2019 United States federal budget.

In March 2018 NASA considered acquiring more than one gateway propulsion module.

Through the upcoming solicitation, the industry will be asked to participate in a public/private partnership, which includes a flight demonstration of the power and propulsion spacecraft. Following this test lasting up to one-year in space after launch, NASA will have the option to acquire the spacecraft for use as the first element of the Gateway in lunar orbit.


Did you know?

The gateway is central to advancing and sustaining human space exploration goals and is the unifying single stepping off point in our architecture for human cislunar operations, lunar surface access and missions to Mars.

Book:

Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by by Patrick Stakem (Author) from Amazon.com

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