NASA Lunar Gateway: The lunar orbiting space station will replace the earth space station?

2021-09-14 | Xinchu Science Original Collection2 |

NASA's Artemis plan is constantly advancing. The plan's goal is to return to the moon in 2024, but the report in August pointed out that the development of astronauts' spacesuits has been postponed, and it is basically impossible to achieve the goal in 2024.

Although it is difficult to return to the moon in 2024, NASA still hopes to build a space station in lunar orbit. With the retirement of the International Space Station getting closer and closer, the United States is eager to complete the construction of the lunar orbit space station ahead of schedule.

NASA's lunar space station plan has been planned for decades:

In 2010, NASA first proposed the lunar space station plan. At that time, the plan hoped to build a habitat on the back of the moon to help astronauts live on the moon for a long time, thereby completing more complicated and time-consuming tasks.

However, building a base on the back of the moon is very costly, so the plan was cancelled during the budget meeting. In 2018, the plan was revised to change the habitat from the back of the moon to a lunar orbiting space station, thereby reducing the project budget.

The Lunar Deep Space Habitat Project has also been renamed the Lunar Gateway Project.

With the launch of NASA’s return to the moon program, the International Space Station is also nearing retirement, the lunar gateway program is included in the Artemis program to return to the moon, the lunar gateway will serve as a transit station between the earth and the moon, helping astronauts in spaceLive in time, and temporarily replace the role of the International Space Station.

However, the lunar gateway is much smaller than the International Space Station, so it is difficult to support the participation of astronauts from other countries. The current design of the lunar gateway can support 4 astronauts to live for about 30 days. The core module is expected to be launched in 2024Near the moon.

Similar to the launch of the space station, NASA's lunar gateway also needs to be assembled and expanded in space. After the core module is launched into orbit, NASA will continue to launch the lunar gateway's experimental module and assemble it into a complete lunar gateway after docking in space.

The lunar gateway project currently mainly supports the construction of lunar bases and the residential use of astronauts, so the expandable space is very limited, and it is likely that the scientific experiment function will be cancelled and the cargo compartment and living space will be the mainstay.

The Lunar Gateway will enter a unique "halo orbit":

The lunar gateway will enter the lunar orbit and follow the moon to move together, but scientists have chosen a unique new orbit for the lunar gateway. According to computer simulations, this orbit will take 7 days to adjust, which can avoid shadows to the greatest extent possibleArea, which keeps solar charging at all times, so it is called "halo track".

Because this orbit belongs to a newly calculated orbital path, NASA plans to test this orbit at the end of 2021 and will use this orbit after verifying its feasibility.

Compared with a space station in earth orbit, it is more expensive to transport humans or materials to the lunar gateway. Each launch mission requires the dual power of a launch vehicle and a spacecraft.

The increase in launch difficulty has greatly reduced the number of business partners NASA can find. At present, only SpaceX and Lockheed Martin have obtained orders for manned and cargo launches of the Lunar Gateway.


China’s Tianhe Space Station has been successfully launched, and the astronauts have also completed the commissioning of the space station. China’s aerospace has made rapid progress and completed a number of historic achievements in a short time. However, space competition is also fierce. Although the International Space Station is about to be decommissioned, NASAThe lunar gateway is about to launch, and NASA is also spending a lot of money to encourage private companies to develop the space station to help NASA fill the vacancy after the space station is decommissioned.

The development of aerospace industry requires perseverance and rapid progress. I believe that China's aerospace industry will create more transcendent miracles in the future!

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