Gateway Is Humanity’s First Lunar Space Station

By Brian Myers | Published


The long-held dream of humankind being able to live on the moon is inching closer to reality. As welding is being completed on the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), a collaborative effort between the space agencies of many nations are soon looking at putting the first piece of the Gateway space station into the skies, where it will eventually orbit the moon.

Gateway Space Station

HALO is one of four modules that make up the Gateway space station, and functions as a place where astronauts will live, work, and plan for excursions on the lunar surface.

Gateway will be the first space station to exist outside of the Earth’s lower orbit, where the existing International Space Station is located. Gateway will serve multiple functions, including making it easier for astronauts to safely make moon landings and further research on the orbiting body.

But the plans for Gateway go well beyond moon exploration.

Prime Staging Location

Gateway’s position in the moon’s orbit makes it a prime spot for a staging location to launch other missions across our solar system.

The ability to launch spacecraft from its orbit will make sending more probes to planets like Mars less daunting. This project will also mean that humankind is one step closer to landing astronauts on the surface of the red planet.

Many Countries Involved

Gateway is the product of more than a dozen space agencies from across the globe, including programs from Canada, Japan, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center in Dubai.

While Russian space program Roscosmos initially signed on as a partner in 2017, the plans for its involvement were suspended in 2021 when a spokesperson stated that the efforts for this moon project were too centered around the interests of the United States.

Part of Artemis Program

gateway moon

The Gateway project is but one part of NASA’s Artemis program, specifically titled Artemis IV.

The Artemis III project is working to put astronauts on the moon’s south pole, which will be followed by Gateway and astronauts successfully living and working in the orbiting space station.

SpaceX Falcon Involved

spacex starship gateway moon

For the Gateway project to work, engineers on Earth are tasked with connecting its first two module components, the Power Propulsion Element (PPE) and HALO.

Once connected, these unified modules will be launched into space by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket. They will orbit the moon for a year, the instruments on board relaying data back to scientists on Earth.

Future Plans Are Incredible

gateway moon

This will be followed by the launch of a second habitation element with a crew on board. The European Space Agency will provide this module, referred to as the International Habitation Module (I-Hab).

It will serve to expand the workspaces and living quarters for the crew on Gateway, as well as contain the critical life support systems needed for orbiting the moon.

If all goes according to plan, this will lead to the launch of SpaceX’s Starship Human Landing System.

This will allow astronauts to leave Gateway for the surface of the moon itself. Plans for an upgraded version of a starship connected to the Artemis IV project will host capabilities that will make longer term space exploration, including trips to Mars, possible.

Sources: NASA

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