NASA’s vision for a space station orbiting the moon comes to life in new 3D video

Right now, engineers are busy crafting the first components of what will eventually become Gateway space station. One day, if all goes according to plan, Gateway will serve as the first space station in lunar orbit, and the first true lunar transportation hub. Although not intended to be permanently inhabited, this station is being built as a home base for astronauts on Artemis moon missions throughout the 2030s and beyond.

And, although it may seem mainly NASA project, Gate it is an international effort. Europe, Japan, Canada and the United Arab Emirates are all station contributors.

In the middle of all the efforts to build this incredible space-borne laboratory, NASA released An artist’s 3D rendering of Gateway, showing what the station would look like if and when everything goes away – complete with its currently planned modules. We took a closer look. Here’s what we found out.


At the heart of the station is the Accommodation and Logistics (HALO), a squat cylinder that will form half of Gateway’s main staff area.

Unlike the International Space Stationits orbits WorldGateway will not be a permanent outpost i space. Instead, it will be more like a front tire. Starting with Artemis’s second crewed mission, Artemis IV, astronauts will use Gateway as an operations center, living and working on it when they’re not walking. the moon below.

Related: NASA’s Gateway space station-orbiting moon explained in pictures

HALO is therefore Gateway’s command and communication module. For times when Gateway is not live, the module will contain software that allows the station to mostly run itself. HALO will also house some of the Gateway’s science projects, for example instruments to measure radiation levels inside the module.

Also on HALO, we see the tendril of it Canadian3: successor to the Canadian Space Agencies iconic hand which serves the International Space Station today. Once Canadarm3 is installed, it will be able to perform repairs autonomously.

2. TCP

On one side of HALO are Gateway’s Power and Driving Element (PPE). As the station’s main power source, PPE will rely on a pair of roll-out solar panels to generate 60 kilowatts of electricity.

That electricity will not only power the rest of the station’s needs, it will power the station’s electric drive system, which is located between the two solar panels. TCP will use that electricity to ionize xenon gas. Gateway will rely on that drive system to keep itself i highly eccentric orbit which swings between 3,000 and 70,000 kilometers (1,875 and 43,750 miles) of the moon’s surface.

Together, HALO and PPE will form Gateway’s initial seed. If all goes as planned, they will reach the moon in time for Artemis IV, currently scheduled for a 2028 launch.

3. Lunar I-Hab

On the other side of HALO is a second cylinder squat, similar in size to HALO itself. This is the Lunar I-Hab. Built together by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration AgencyJAXA), the I-Hab will serve as Gateway’s second crew module: the second half of its crew area.

True to the “hab” in its name, I-Hab will be the living and sleeping quarters for the crew. Four crew members of the Artemis mission will share a space about the size of a caravan interior. The module will have a restaurant, as well as bunks and a fitness area.

Located on the side of the I-Hab, shaped like a bubble clinging to the outside of the module, is an airlock that will allow the crew to leave the station for spacewalks. This airlock will be provided by the United Arab Emirates.

Current plans call for Artemis IV to deliver I-Hab to Gateway when it flies there in 2028.

4. View of the Moon

Moving back to HALO, as he goes to his side we see his gilded cylinder Moon View (until recently known as the European System Providing Refueling and Telecommunications Infrastructure, or ESPIRIT).

Another ESA-built module, Lunar View, will be an expansion pack for the Gateway. Lunar View will only join HALO, PPE, and I-Hab on a later mission. On the current slip, that’s Artemis V, which is scheduled for a 2030 launch.

Lunar View is both functional and aesthetic. The functional part is the main function of the module: additional storage. Lunar View will feature a small cargo van, which would welcome HALO and I-Hab’s rather cramped quarters. The module will also contain additional fuel for TCP.

The aesthetic part comes in the form of Gateway’s largest windows. Lunar View will have six windows, arranged around the cavity and facing them orbital debrisallowing the people of Gateway to admire a spectacular view of the moon.

5. Spacecraft

More than showing Gateway’s design, the video also shows a glimpse of what Gateway might one day look like in full service as a lunar transit hub. There are three spacecraft attached to the station.

On the side of the I-Hab is docked the Orion capsulethe main feature of the Artemis missions and the craft that will take astronauts to and from Earth.

The cylinder attached to the side of the I-Hab is the Deep space logistics (DLS) cargo spacecraft, which has a specific docking port. Each new Artemis mission will bring one of these to Gateway, carrying equipment, supplies, and science experiments that they will use during their time by the moon.

Finally, attached to HALO and on the long side of Lunar View is the Human Landing System (HLS) — the craft that, starting with Artemis IV, will bring the astronauts down to the lunar surface.

6. Scientific experiments

In addition to astronauts, Gateway will have a handful of scientific payloads. Each new Artemis mission will bring a fresh batch of experiments. A NASA video shows two planned to fly on the outside of Gateway.

On the TCP side is the content provided by CEC European Radiation Sensors Array (ERSA), a series of instruments to measure space radiation over the Earth’s shield magnetic field. In fact, the life of ERS will begin even before it enters Gateway, as it will measure the radiation experienced by PPE as it flies through Earth Van Allen zones.

– NASA space station in lunar orbit will be claustrophobic, architect says.

— Artemis 4 astronauts will be the first crew to use NASA’s Lunar Orbit Gateway in 2028

— Watch NASA’s next-generation lunar Gateway space station zoom in on a concept video

Connected to HALO is NASA Helophysics Radiation and Environmental Measurement Experiment Suite (HERMES), which will measure particles in the Earth magnetic. Basically, because the Earth is buffeted by solar windThe magnetotail passes through the moon whenever the moon is in the correct position in its orbit.

These experiments will tell us about the Solar systema high-energy environment, to be sure. But space agencies and scientists also hope to use the information gathered in these experiments to better prepare astronauts for much, much longer future missions — crewed trips to Marsperhaps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *