NASA orders Falcon Heavy to launch Lunar Gateway’s HALO & PPE together…as Falcon Heavy looks likely to get Europa Clipper as well

by | Feb 10, 2021 | exploration, Launches, NASA, SpaceX

NASA has selected the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to provide launch services for the agency’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), the foundation elements of the Lunar space station dubbed Gateway.

Illustration showing Lunar Gateway’s PPE and HALO modules. Courtesy: NASA

After integration on Earth, the PPE and HALO are targeted to launch together no earlier than May 2024 on a Falcon Heavy from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The total cost to NASA is approximately US$331.8 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs.

The PPE is a 60-kilowatt class solar electric propulsion spacecraft that also will provide power, high-speed communications, attitude control and the capability to move the Gateway to different lunar orbits, providing more access to the Moon’s surface than ever before.

The HALO is the pressurised living quarters where astronauts who visit the Gateway, often on their way to the Moon, will work. It will provide command and control functionality and serve as the docking hub for the outpost. The HALO will support science investigations, distribute power, provide communications for visiting vehicles and lunar surface expeditions, and supplement the life-support systems aboard the crew-carrying Project Artemis Orion spacecraft.

About one-sixth the size of the International Space Station, the Lunar Gateway will function as a way station in a high lunar near-rectilinear halo orbit. It will serve as a rendezvous point for Artemis astronauts traveling to lunar orbit aboard Orion prior to transiting to low-lunar orbit and the surface of the Moon. From this vantage, NASA and its international and commercial partners will conduct unprecedented deep space science and technology investigations.

NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy will manage the SpaceX launch service. The HALO is being designed and built by Northrop Grumman Space Systems of Dulles, Virginia, and the PPE is being built by Maxar Technologies of Westminster, Colorado. NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston manages the Gateway program for the agency. NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is responsible for management of the PPE. 

Post Script: In February, NASA received approval to switch the unmanned Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa from its originally planned (but not booked) SLS launch to a commercial launch vehicle after significant compatibility issues were discovered between the payload and rocket. At this time, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket is believed to be the leading contender for the launch.

 

 

 

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Proton-M launches Elektro-L N4 weather sat for Russia

A Proton-M/Block DM-03 launch vehicle was successfully launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan at 0912 GMT on 5 Read more

SSLV failure cause: Violent second stage separation triggered chain of events which prevented SSLV final stage burn to stable orbit

The failure investigation set up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) into the launch failure of the maiden flight Read more

Starlink Group 5-3 is launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9

At 0758 GMT on 2 February 2023  a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 successfully launched 53 Starlink Gen2 satellites (Group 5-3) Read more

SpaceX launches another batch of Starlinks plus ION-SCV9 delivery spacecraft testing separation system

A Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 was launched from the Vandenberg Space Force base in California at 1615 GMT on 31 Read more

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Starlink Group 5-2

On 26 January 2023, at 0932 GMT, a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 successfully launched 56 Starlink Gen2 satellites from Space Read more

Tianwen 1 mission’s Zhurong-1 Mars rover may have expired in its sleep

SpaceNews reports (quoting the South China Morning Post) that the Zhurong 1 Mars rover as part of the Tianwen 1 Read more

Japan completes its first launch of the year of the radar reconnaissance satellite IGS RADAR-7

Kicking off its launch year, Japan has placed a radar reconnaissance satellite into near-500 km sun-synchronous low Earth orbit (LEO). Read more

New orders: Isar Aerospace, SpaceX, Raytheon, Advance Space, Clyde Space and Xplore

European launch service company Isar Aerospace and US-based Spaceflight, which offers rides to orbit for satellites, have announced a multi-launch Read more

Categories

Archives