House for lunar astronauts is captured in the photo

NASA has published a picture showing the hull of the HALO module (Habitat and Logistics Outpost). It is one of the key components of the Gateway space station.

Heart of the Gateway Station

The Gateway station will become a home for the astronauts of the Artemis missions preparing to land on the Moon and a place for scientific experiments. It will be placed in an almost rectilinear halo orbit around the L2 point of the Earth-Moon system. 

Body of the HALO module. Source: Northrop Grumman/Thales Alenia Space

The heart of the new station will be a bundle of the PPE electric motor module and the HALO residential module. Maxar is engaged in the creation of PPE, the contract for the creation of HALO is shared by the Franco-Italian company Thales Alenia Space and the American Northrop Grumman. The first took over the creation of the module body, the second will be responsible for its equipment and subsequent management.

At the moment, Thales Alenia Space specialists have already completed the welding work. In the near future, HALO will undergo a series of stress tests, after which it will be transported to the United States for retrofitting.

First residents of the moon house

At the moment, the launch of HALO and PPE is scheduled for the end of 2025. They will go into space as part of a single bundle, and a Falcon Heavy rocket will be used for the mission. The modules will take about a year to reach the target orbit.

Gateway station in the artist’s impression. Source: NASA

After carrying out all necessary checks, the Dragon XL supply spacecraft will be launched to the Gateway, and then the Lunar Starship will dock to it. After that, the station will receive the first visitors as part of the Artemis IV expedition. A more powerful modification of the SLS rocket (SLS Block 1B) will be used for this mission. It will allow sending not only the Orion spacecraft to the Moon, but also the Lunar I-Hab residential module, which is being created by ESA and JAXA.

The Artemis IV crew will dock the module to the station and perform equipment checks. After that, the two astronauts will board the Lunar Starship and land at the South Pole of the Moon, where they will spend six days. The other two astronauts will remain on board Gateway and will be engaged in scientific research.

The plan of the Artemis IV expedition. Source: NASA

After completing the planned program, Lunar Starship will take off from the lunar surface and dock with Gateway again. The astronauts will transfer the collected samples to Orion, prepare the station for the next expedition, and then return to Earth. At the moment, the implementation of the Artemis IV mission is scheduled for the second half of 2028.

Earlier, we told you that the UAE agreed to build an Airlock module for Gateway.

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