NASA Picks SpaceX To Fly Cargo To Moon-Orbiting Gateway Space Station
NASA has awarded SpaceX with a contract to provide Gateway, the moon-orbiting area station that the company goals to start out constructing in 2022, company officers introduced Friday. Space.com experiences: Gateway is a key a part of NASA’s Artemis exploration program, which seeks to ascertain a sustainable, long-term human presence on and across the moon by the late 2020s. The small area station will function a jumping-off level for sorties, each crewed and uncrewed, to the lunar floor. SpaceX will assist to maintain the Gateway equipped, delivering scientific experiments and quite a lot of different gear to the outpost, NASA officers mentioned. The firm is assured two missions below its newly introduced Gateway Logistics Services contract.
SpaceX’s robotic ISS resupply runs make use of the corporate’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, which may loft 13,200 lbs. (6,000 kilograms, or 6 metric tons) to low-Earth orbit. But SpaceX’s Gateway missions will use completely different : the massive Falcon Heavy rocket and a particular capsule variant referred to as Dragon XL. (SpaceX has additionally developed one other Dragon model, Crew Dragon, which can fly astronauts to and from the ISS below one more NASA contract.) Dragon XL will be capable to carry greater than 5 metric tons of cargo to the Gateway, SpaceX representatives mentioned by way of Twitter Friday. Dragon cargo missions to the ISS sometimes final a few month from launch to splashdown. But Dragon XL will possible keep connected to the Gateway for six to 12 months at a time, NASA officers mentioned. Other corporations could find yourself becoming a member of SpaceX within the Gateway resupply sport.