from the ask-Senator-Shelby dept.
Submitted via IRC for takyon
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 17, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine.
Sometime in 2028, competing for attention alongside a presidential election and the return of the Summer Olympics to Los Angeles, NASA will return humans to the surface of the moon.
A lunar lander will depart the cluster of modules in an elliptical orbit around the moon, called Gateway, and descend. One stage will take the lander to a low lunar orbit and then separate, after which the descent module will handle the rest of the journey to the lunar surface. A crew of up to four will spend days — perhaps up to two weeks — on the surface before boarding the ascent module, which will take them back to the Gateway.
At least that’s NASA’s plan for now. A year after President Donald Trump formally directed NASA to return humans to the moon in Space Policy Directive (SPD) 1, the agency has developed the outlines of a plan to carry that out, while emphasizing the language in the policy to do so in a “sustainable” manner and with international and commercial partners. But as the agency describes two of the biggest elements of the plan, the Gateway and a “human-class” lunar lander, it’s still struggling to sell the proposal to its various stakeholders, including its own advisers.
[The somewhat long article is well worth a read. Notable members of NASA as well as former astronauts weigh in on their views of the pros and cons of such an approach as opposed to direct flights to and from the moon. To my eye, NASA was instructed to make the Deep Space Gateway happen so there was a destination for the Space Launch System (SLS) which currently costs something like $2 billion per year in launch and development costs. By comparison, I recall reading that SpaceX anticipates it can develop its next-generation Big 'Falcon' Rocket (BFR) and Big 'Falcon' spaceship (BFS) — now called "Super Heavy" and "Starship", respectively — for about $2 billion total. --martyb]
Canada will contribute US$1.4bn to a proposed Nasa space station that will orbit the Moon and act as a base to land astronauts on its surface.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the step would "push the boundaries of innovation".
The space station, called Gateway, is a key element in Nasa's plan to return to the Moon with humans in the 2020s.
As part of the 24-year commitment, Canada will build a next-generation robotic arm for the new lunar outpost.
"Canada is going to the Moon," Mr Trudeau told a news conference at Canadian Space Agency's headquarters near Montreal, according to AFP.
*Canada is going near the Moon.
Previously: Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
China Will Focus on a Lunar Surface Station Rather than a Lunar Orbiting Station
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Could Launch Japanese and European Payloads to Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Head of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos Wavers on Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Is the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway the Right Way to the Moon?
Lockheed Martin says it has developed an approach to achieving the goal of landing humans on the south pole of the moon by 2024, but warns that construction of essential hardware would have to start soon to meet that deadline.
In a briefing at the 35th Space Symposium here April 10, company officials said they can make extensive use of existing hardware to develop components like a scaled-down version of the lunar Gateway and a two-stage lunar lander on an accelerated schedule.
While many details have yet to be worked out, the basic elements of the plan, Lockheed argues, demonstrates that the ability to meet the 2024 deadline established March 26 by Vice President Mike Pence in a National Space Council speech is at least technically feasible, if challenging.
[...] Lockheed's plan would diverge from NASA's old approach after Exploration Mission (EM) 1, an uncrewed test of the Orion spacecraft launched by the Space Launch System in 2020. The company proposes launching a "Phase 1" Gateway in 2022 consisting of just the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and a small habitation module with docking ports. NASA expects to issue awards for the PPE in May, while the habitation module could be adapted from ongoing studies that are part of NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, or NextSTEP, program.
Also at Space.com.
Previously: Is the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway the Right Way to the Moon?
Canada Will Contribute to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Here's Why NASA's Audacious Return to the Moon Just Might Work