NASA’s lunar orbital platform ‘Gateway’ to begin construction

NASA will start work on its Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by early 2019 when it will award the first contract for the program. The lunar platform will be NASA’s planned ‘staging’ area for studies of the moon and the deep-space environment. It will eventually also function as a gateway space station for Astronauts travelling to and from Mars.

Key Highlights:-
1. NASA would begin the work on the platform by first spending on power and propulsion elements in early 2019, followed by habitation components.
2. The platform is expected to orbit the moon in 2025.
3. It is expected to carry a four-astronaut crew on 30-day missions.
4. They will be launched towards the moon, in that order, starting in 2022.

It will help determine whether water near the surface could be used to manufacture propellant for deep-space missions. The lunar platform- Gateway would provide impetus to NASA’s goal of fashioning another human landing on the moon. 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.

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