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posted by janrinok on Tuesday January 09 2018, @05:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the lunargate dept.

Deep Space Gateway (DSG) is a planned space station in lunar orbit. The U.S. and Russia signed an agreement last year to work on the station's development. Now Russia has created an engineering department inside the RKK Energia space corporation in order to plan the nation's lunar exploration, including a possible manned landing:

Officially, Moscow has been on a path to put a human on the Moon since 2013, when President Putin approved a general direction for human space flight in the coming decade. The program had been stalling for several years due to falling prices for oil, the main source of revenue for the Russian budget. Last year, however, the Russian lunar exploration effort was given a new impetus when the Kremlin made a strategic decision to cooperate with NASA on the construction of a habitable outpost in the orbit around the Moon, known as Deep Space Gateway, DSG.

Although the US saw the primary goal of the DSG as a springboard for missions to Mars, NASA's international partners, including Russia, have been pushing the idea of exploring the Moon first. On the Russian side, RKK Energia led key engineering studies into the design of the DSG and participated in negotiations with NASA on sharing responsibilities for the project.

To coordinate various technical aspects of lunar exploration, the head of RKK Energia Vladimir Solntsev signed an order late last year to form Center No. 23Ts, which would report directly to him. According to a document seen by Ars Technica, the group will be responsible for developing long-term plans for human missions to the vicinity of the Moon and to its surface, as well as for implementing proposals for international cooperation in lunar missions. This is a clear signal that NASA might soon have a new liaison in Russia for all things related to the DSG. The same group will also take care of all the relevant domestic interactions between RKK Energia and its subcontractors.

Unlike the ISS, the DSG should not require any orbital boost burns and could reach any altitude above the Moon using ion thrusters.

Here are two op-eds from last year about the Deep Space Gateway:

Terry Virts: The Deep Space Gateway would shackle human exploration, not enable it

John Thornton: The Deep Space Gateway as a cislunar port

Related articles:

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09 2018, @09:26PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09 2018, @09:26PM (#620223)

    Home already up there. Don’t drop it the sea in 5 yrs park it around the moon or load it to the gills and send to mars. Either way save the once.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday January 09 2018, @09:45PM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Tuesday January 09 2018, @09:45PM (#620228) Journal

    I'll submit an article about that later. It would be interesting to hear the arguments against pushing the ISS into lunar orbit.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09 2018, @11:09PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09 2018, @11:09PM (#620257)

      If Moon's lower gravity would allow that, I'd not just investigate the possibility of sending it in lunar orbit, but also disassemble it in smaller pieces, land them using reusable thrusters coming from Earth, then reassemble it to be a lunar base. It sounds crazy to me too, but who knows...

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Wednesday January 10 2018, @12:38AM

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Wednesday January 10 2018, @12:38AM (#620282) Journal

        We could make future space stations much more spacious than the ISS with the B330 [] inflatable module (a bigger version of BEAM which is currently used for storage on the ISS []). They have also talked about landing B330 modules on the lunar surface.

        If radiation risks aren't adequately reduced by the Deep Space Gateway, landing it won't make much difference. Instead, we have to do something like "enter the moon cave" [] to ensure that long-term stays on the Moon are possible. I could imagine an astronaut spending a whole year on the Moon would be possible since people have spent more than a year in microgravity conditions.

        The Space Shuttle's [] payload to LEO/ISS was much lower than Falcon Heavy [] will be and a bit more than Falcon 9 [] (Block 5 will narrow the gap slightly). If SpaceX can build the BFR as designed, that will have an immense maximum payload while apparently being cheaper to launch than Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy (because the whole BFR is reusable but the second stage of those rockets is not). Things are definitely looking up for getting large payloads into LEO or on the Moon at a cheaper price.

        Now I thought this post about using the BFR to colonize the Moon [] was way too optimistic (it can deliver 150 tons to LEO, not the lunar surface) until I remembered that the BFR is intended to refuel in orbit using a second "tanker" BFR:

        at $7 million the SpaceX BFR launch 150 tons would have less than a $50 per pound launch cost…

        …can take 150 tons from Earth to the moon by using orbital refueling. Each reusable Spacex BFR could make 50 trips to and from the moon each year to get to 7500 tons delivered to the moon.

        …Aggressive use of SpaceX reusable launch, focused robotics automation development could achieve the critical mass of moon-based industry within 2 years after the reusable Spacex BFR is fully operational. The planned date is about 2022 for the SpaceX BFR. So 40,000+ tons of lunar industry and robotics manufacturing could be available by 2024….

        By 2025, there could be a fleet of 100 BFR. Each could be flying 10-50 times per year if there the market for launches can be grown with $40-200 per pound launch costs.

        …The USA could triple that production and buy a separate fleet of 200 SpaceX BFR. If each cost $200 million, then it would cost $40 billion. This would be less than the planned spend for the Space Launch System which would have one or two flights per year. The USA could fly each BFR 50 times and get 10,000 launches per year. For $7 million each flight that would be $70 billion per year to operate at maximum capacity.

        The guest poster calculates $117,000 per kg landed on the Moon by Saturn V, versus $93 per kg for SpaceX's Big F***** Rocket. Wow.

        We haven't realized the true power of reusability yet.

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