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Thread: Lunar Gateway Outpost thread

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Lunar Gateway Outpost thread

    Equipment and instruments are being selected now for the LGO.

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    Gateway no longer needed, but could still be built. Would this not be an excellent starting point for a large spacecraft, such as one going to Mars, to test out its survivability?

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    I don’t see the point. If you want to do radiation tests or whatever, put the experiments on much less expensive unmanned spacecraft. If you want to test human factors, there is the ISS, or just build your prototype interplanetary spacecraft and test that. I have never understood what the point was for the Lunar Gateway in its current form. As I said in another thread, I could imagine a lunar space station could be used to lower operating costs for ongoing lunar landing operations, but I have never seen an indication NASA was actually trying to do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I don’t see the point. If you want to do radiation tests or whatever, put the experiments on much less expensive unmanned spacecraft. If you want to test human factors, there is the ISS, or just build your prototype interplanetary spacecraft and test that. I have never understood what the point was for the Lunar Gateway in its current form. As I said in another thread, I could imagine a lunar space station could be used to lower operating costs for ongoing lunar landing operations, but I have never seen an indication NASA was actually trying to do that.
    At some point, you have to do an all-up test with everyone and everything aboard, and keep it in orbit until you've fixed the issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    At some point, you have to do an all-up test with everyone and everything aboard, and keep it in orbit until you've fixed the issues.
    Which would mean building the actual spacecraft, not another space station designed for a different purpose. What is the point of the lunar space station?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Which would mean building the actual spacecraft, not another space station designed for a different purpose. What is the point of the lunar space station?
    Hmm. Have to think about this again. Maybe I was getting too excited.
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    I’m not taking an absolute position on this - there might well be a really good argument for the Lunar Gateway station, and if there is, I would love to hear it, but the ones I have heard so far haven’t impressed me. Docking spacecraft is easier and more automated than it was in the ‘60s. And the standard Artemis lander and the Orion CSM don’t seem to be reusable so I don’t know what the station gives us aside from some minor increase in mission flexibility, but with a lot of added cost and complexity. If there were a fuel depot and a reusable lander and Earth-Moon shuttle, perhaps getting fuel from a lunar mining station, I would be all for it. That would represent a major expansion of capability.

    And of course, if SpaceX works out the details with Starship (with refueling and reusability) this would instantly become hopelessly obsolete.

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    I see things the same. If you want to test a Mars spacecraft, test the Mars spacecraft. The "Gateway" gains nothing, it's just another thing to spend time and money on instead of the thing you're supposedly developing. And stopping there is more expensive than just going to Mars, so it's useless for staging the actual Mars mission. "Toll booth" is more accurate.

    As for using it as a staging point for lunar exploration, or for shelter in case of emergency...such a foothold location makes sense, but put it on the moon. A lunar base is a suborbital hop from any other landing site on the moon, the "Gateway" might no be in position for days and will likely take a day or more to rendezvous with. The lunar base will also have about half the radiation (due to the moon blocking half the sky), with lots of material for added shielding. And of course, has the advantage of actually being located on the body you're there to explore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I’m not taking an absolute position on this - there might well be a really good argument for the Lunar Gateway station, and if there is, I would love to hear it, but the ones I have heard so far haven’t impressed me. Docking spacecraft is easier and more automated than it was in the ‘60s. And the standard Artemis lander and the Orion CSM don’t seem to be reusable so I don’t know what the station gives us aside from some minor increase in mission flexibility, but with a lot of added cost and complexity. If there were a fuel depot and a reusable lander and Earth-Moon shuttle, perhaps getting fuel from a lunar mining station, I would be all for it. That would represent a major expansion of capability.

    And of course, if SpaceX works out the details with Starship (with refueling and reusability) this would instantly become hopelessly obsolete.
    Frankly if I were a betting man I would risk a modest wager on SpaceX doing exactly that before SLS/Artemis gets out of Earth orbit. The fundamental issue is that the real battle here seems to be how big a piece of the pie the usual suspects get given by Congress and as usual actually getting anything done as far as manned missions to the Moon or Mars goes is irrelevant.

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    NASA Awards Artemis Contract for Gateway Logistics Services to SpaceX
    https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/n...stics-services
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    I wonder if Gateway is really an attempt at building a Mars ship on the sly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I wonder if Gateway is really an attempt at building a Mars ship on the sly.
    Maybe they are sneakily trying to get this built:

    Nautilus-X

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    "NASA awards Northrop Grumman Artemis contract for Gateway Crew Cabin"

    https://www.moondaily.com/reports/NA...Cabin_999.html

    NASA has finalized the contract for the initial crew module of the agency's Gateway lunar orbiting outpost. Orbital Science Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Space, has been awarded $187 million to design the habitation and logistics outpost (HALO) for the Gateway, which is part of NASA's Artemis program and will help the agency build a sustainable presence at the Moon. This award funds HALO's design through its preliminary design review, expected by the end of 2020.

    "This contract award is another significant milestone in our plan to build robust and sustainable lunar operations," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "The Gateway is a key component of NASA's long-term Artemis architecture and the HALO capability furthers our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for future human missions to Mars."
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    I would like to see some Earth-Moon cyclers.
    This, more than LEO, would give the best overview effect.

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    This contracting method definitely favors Lunar Starship.

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    The way things were going in the past certainly wasn't the way to make spaceflight affordable; this approach sounds more promising.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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    "Northrop Grumman outlines HALO plans for Gateway’s central module"

    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020...plans-gateway/

    With the first two major elements of NASA’s Lunar Gateway under contract and development, Northrop Grumman has outlined their plans for the overall Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module, which will serve as the primary habitation and nexus for the lunar station.

    HALO will now launch in a fully integrated configuration with Maxar’s Power and Propulsion Element — a change that has brought about alterations to HALO. The duo will launch aboard a yet-to-be-officially confirmed rocket from the Florida spaceport in 2023.

    HALO’s debut role at present will be to support the first planned human lunar landing Artemis mission. While NASA lists that milestone as officially 2024 for political purposes, the agency’s senior managers under Kathy Leuders have declined to comment on the viability of the 2024 date, saying only that the landing will occur once all parts of the flight are ready to support and crew safety can be guaranteed as much as possible for such an endeavour.
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    The "yet-to-be-officially confirmed rocket" is said to be Falcon Heavy.

    Part of the delay in confirmation is if SpaceX would be getting funds to develop an extended length fairing (~5.4x18.6m) so PPE and HALO could be launched together. This in turn depended on SpaceX getting a National Security Space Launch Phase 2 contract to help fund it, which they did.

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    Very good.

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    "ESA FORMALLY AGREES TO GATEWAY PARTNERSHIP"

    https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/e...y-partnership/

    The heads of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed an agreement today formally outlining ESA’s role in the Gateway, a small space station that will orbit the Moon as part of the Artemis program. International and commercial partnerships are foundational to Artemis according to NASA and the White House. Canada and Japan also have signed agreements signaling their intent to participate as well.


    Though COVID-19 kept them geographically apart, ESA Director General Jan Woerner and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine jointly signed the Memorandum of Understanding today.
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    "NASA IG: GATEWAY NOT LIKELY TO BE READY BY 2024"

    https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/n...ready-by-2024/

    NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has concluded that the Gateway space station NASA plans to put in lunar orbit as part of the Artemis program likely will not be ready in time to support the Trump Administration’s plan to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024. NASA said earlier this year that Gateway is not needed for the landing, but expected to have an initial version in place by 2023 nonetheless.
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