Lunar station one step closer to launch

Thales Alenia Space engineers have completed welding the hull of the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module. In the near future, it will undergo a series of stress tests, after which it will be transported to the USA.

HALO module hull. Source: Thales Alenia Space

HALO is the first habitable module of the projected Gateway near-lunar station. It will be home to the Artemis missions’ astronauts preparing to land on the moon and a place to conduct scientific experiments. The station will be placed on a nearly rectilinear halo-orbit around the L2 point of the Earth-Moon system.

The contract to build HALO was shared by Franco-Italian company Thales Alenia Space and US-based Northrop Grumman. The first one is responsible for the creation of the module hull, the second one will be responsible for its equipping and subsequent control.

Thales Alenia Space recently reported the completion of the welding work. HALO will soon undergo a series of stress tests to certify its safety. The module will then be transferred to the Northrop Grumman facility for additional equipment. 

As of now, HALO is scheduled for launch by the end of 2025. It will go into space in combination with the PPE electric propulsion module, which is being developed by Maxar. The modules will take about a year to reach their target orbit around the Moon. The station is expected to receive its first crew in 2028. They will be members of the Artemis IV expedition.

We previously told you about how astronauts got their first try at wearing spacesuits in the Artemis III mission’s cramped landing module.

According to NASA