Credit: NASA

 

The International Space Station partners have endorsed plans to continue the development of the Gateway, an outpost around the Moon that will act as a base to support both robots and astronauts exploring the lunar surface.

The Multilateral Coordination Board, which oversees the management of the Space Station, stressed its common hope for the Gateway to open up a cost-effective and sustainable path to the Moon and beyond.

Orion and ESA Service Module.
Credit: NASA/ESA/ATG/Medialab

A possible commitment towards building Europe’s contributions to the Gateway will be one of the key decisions to be made by Ministers at the Space19+ Conference in November 2019.

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) potential involvement includes the ESPRIT module to provide communications and refueling of the Gateway and a science airlock for deploying science payloads and cubesats.

During the 2020s, the Gateway will be assembled and operated in the vicinity of the Moon, where it will move between different orbits and enable the most distant human space missions ever attempted.
Credit: NASA/ESA

 

The endorsement comes after several years of extensive study among space agencies who have developed a technically achievable design. The partnership includes European countries (represented by ESA), the United States (NASA), Russia (Roscosmos), Canada (CSA) and Japan (JAXA).

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