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NASA contracts SpaceX to launch first lunar outpost elements

Artemis timeline. Image: NASA

Paris, 10 February 2021. – The U.S. space agency NASA has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for two foundational elements of its lunar outpost Gateway, NASA announced.

SpaceX will launch the agency’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO).

PPE and HALO are targeted to launch together no earlier than May 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said.

The total cost to NASA is approximately $331.8 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs.

As the first long-term orbiting outpost around the Moon, the Gateway is critical to supporting sustainable astronauts missions under the agency’s Artemis program.

The PPE is a 60-kilowatt class solar electric propulsion spacecraft that also will provide power, high-speed communications, attitude control, and the capability to move the Gateway to different lunar orbits, providing more access to the Moon’s surface than ever before.

The HALO is the pressurized living quarters where astronauts who visit the Gateway, often on their way to the Moon, will work. It will provide command and control and serve as the docking hub for the outpost. HALO will support science investigations, distribute power, provide communications for visiting vehicles and lunar surface expeditions, and supplement the life support systems aboard Orion, NASA’s spacecraft that will deliver Artemis astronauts to the Gateway.

 

 

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