Northrop Grumman snags $187 million for the design of the NASA lunar Gateway habitat for the astronauts

NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman $187 million for the design of the habitat module for the space agency’s lunar The gateway, a project of the moon in orbit around the space station for the astronauts.

We learned last year that NASA had taken advantage of Virginia, Northrop Grumman to build the Gateway pressurized cabin for the crew, called the housing and advanced logistic (HALO). The company of the basis of HALO in their The spacecraft Cygnusthat has been flight-contracted robotic cargo missions to the International Space Station for NASA from the year 2014.

On Friday (June 5), the space agency announced some of the terms of the offer: Northrop Grumman you will receive $187 million to fund HALO design via a key milestone called preliminary design review, which is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Related: Can NASA really put astronauts on the moon in 2024?

“This award is another important milestone in our plan to build a robust and sustainable lunar operations,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine it said in a statement. “The Gateway is a key component of NASA’s long-term Artemis, the architecture, and the HALO that promotes the ability of our plans for the human exploration on the moon, in preparation for future human missions to Mars.”

Artemis is the NASA program of the crew of the lunar exploration, which aims to land two astronauts near the south pole of the moon in 2024 and to establish a sustainable human presence in and around the cosmic body to the year 2028. As Bridenstine noted, the agency expects this work paving the way for the next giant leap: getting astronauts to Mars is that NASA intends to make in the 2030s.

Gateway likely will not be involved in the 2024 landingbut NASA sees the mini space station as crucial for its long-term lunar plans. The outpost will serve as a starting point for exploration, both with and without crew, to the lunar surface.

The current plan calls for the launch of the Gateway of the first two elements of HALO and the power and propulsion element (PPE), which will be built by Maxar Technologies — together in 2023. NASA hopes to award Northrop Grumman a second contract by the end of the year, to build HALO and integrate it with the EPP, agency officials said.

The key to the Artemis vision of NASA, Orion crew capsule and Launch System Space (SLS) megarocket, which together will receive the astronauts out of the earth and on its way to the deep space.

Orion has a flight under his belt, a test without a crew mission to the orbit of the Earth that took place in December of 2014. SLS has not been released yet; it is scheduled to debut late next year in the Artemis 1 mission, which will send an uncrewed Orion on a test flight around the moon.

Orion will provide life support for astronauts aboard the Gateway, along with HALO, which will provide more living space as a small apartment.

The gateway, and the Artemis program in general, will leverage considerable co-operation of the partners in the international community and the private sector. For example, the European Space Agency to provide Orion’s service module, and the lander that transported NASA astronauts from the outpost of the moon’s surface it will be built privately.

Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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