Nasa picks SpaceX to supply planned lunar space station

Katie Ramirez
March 30, 2020

NASA has announced SpaceX as its first commercial partner for the Gateway project, which is part of the Artemis program which aims to have astronauts back on the moon in the next few years.

At current NASA plans to launch the multi-cargo provide missions to the Gateway which is within the plan of building, with the spacecraft created to go to the station and tends to stay there for about 6 to 12 months. NASA plans to launch multiple cargo supply missions to the Gateway, which has yet to be constructed, with spacecraft created to go to the station and remain there for between six and 12 months at a time.

The estimated costs of these contracts are expected to top-up for the maximum of $7 billion for the entire contract, with the guarantee of providing a minimum of two missions per provider.

Other suppliers will most likely be chosen, but NASA selected the SpaceX company first to be signed under that contract.

The area company NASA has introduced not too long ago that it has thought of SpaceX because the export supplier to area for logistics function to ship experimental supplies, provides, and cargo to its lunar Gateway.

SpaceX's upcoming test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft will be the first-ever crewed mission using the company's hardware.

NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, as the first US commercial provider under the Gateway Logistics Services contract to deliver cargo, experiments and other supplies to the agency's Gateway in lunar orbit.

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The un-piloted Dragon XL has no provisions to return cargo to Earth, but it is larger than the current spacecraft - and since it will be protected by a payload during launch, can carry experiments and other hardware on its hull.

NASA's Lunar Gateway is a key element in the Agency's Artemis Program, which will eventually see humans return to the surface of the Moon.

NASA hopes to establish a sustainable, long-term human presence on and around the moon by the late 2020s.

"Returning to the Moon and supporting future space exploration requires affordable delivery of significant amounts of cargo", SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in the statement.

Although the Gateway's role with the first lunar landing - set for 2024 - is now having its timeline re-evaluated to a schedule that won't see it involved with the 2024 mission, NASA has again reaffirmed its commitment to the outpost, which was further solidified with the announcement of a GLS contract on Friday.

NASA issued a call for proposals for the Gateway Logistics Services program in August. The European Space Agency is expected to contribute with an global housing module, or IHAB, and the Canadian Space Agency provides robotic arms.

"Bringing a logistics provider onboard ensures we can transport all the critical supplies we need for the Gateway and on the lunar surface to do research and technology demonstrations in space that we can't do anywhere else. We also anticipate performing a variety of research on and within the logistics module", said Dan Hartman, the Gateway program manager NASA's Johnson Space Center, in the statement.

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