Here's What NASA's Deep Space Gateway Will Look Like

Monday, 18 December 2017 - 11:28AM
Space
Technology
NASA
Monday, 18 December 2017 - 11:28AM
Here's What NASA's Deep Space Gateway Will Look Like
Image credit: Orbital ATK
Apart from encouraging the dreams of aspiring Martian colonists, plans for the new Space Gateway have put an end to that well-worn millennial complaint: "Born too late to explore earth, born too early to explore space."

Six companies have been inducted into NASA's NextSTEP program to build plans for human spaceflight and habitation in cislunar space (the area just beyond the moon), and they're all heavy hitters.

Now, Thales Alenia, the company behind the design and development of the International Space Station, has announced a new partnership with Boeing, building on its previous deals with Orbital ATK and Lockheed Martin.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Orbital ATK are all part of the NextSTEP program, along with Bigelow Aerospace, NanoRacks, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Each of these companies has entered a public-private partnership with NASA to develop tech that ranges from deep-space exploration capsules to habitation facilities that can act as staging points for missions beyond the moon.

Thales Alenia will be working on studying "structures, environmental controls and thermal controls" for use by Boeing and others as part of NextSTEP.

Another part of Thales Alenia's collaboration will involve modifying the Cygnus spacecraft into a deep space exploration vehicle with the assistance of Orbital ATK.

Meanwhile, NanoRacks is working to adapt a part of the Atlas V rocket so that it can turn into a habitation module that will be able to dock with space stations.

The Atlas V is the same rocket that was recently used to launch a US spy satellite into orbit.

The plans for a cislunar Space Gateway are joined by Russia's plans for an interplanetary station near Venus and China's ambitious plans to create a robot moon base and a space-based solar power station (as well as begin asteroid mining).

Andy Weir's new sci-fi book about a tourist destination on the moon (Artemis) is already starting to seem a little quaint.
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Here's What NASA's Deep Space Gateway Will Look Like
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