Speaking on Thursday at the Space center Johnson in Houston Vice-President Michael Penny announced that the U.S. government expects to send up to the end of 2024 astronauts to the planned lunar orbital station with the aim of establishing the satellite Earth permanent human presence.
The current American administration considers the moon as a “key point” for further space exploration. Pence noted that in the United States “is made concerning the draft Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway to establish the first lunar orbital station.” According to the Vice-President, the creation station “will be essential for the deployment of advanced lunar Outpost, which will be further missions to Mars”.
“Last year, NASA is beginning to interact with us developers to create a unique electric propulsion system for the Gateway,” — commented on the development of Pens.
In addition, Pence spoke about the importance of using the new launch vehicle Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft, which will have a key role to play in a new exploration of the moon and subsequent exploration of the rest of the Solar system. Recall that the first joint test launch of the SLS and Orion unmanned scheduled for the 2019-2020 year. It was noted that the early completion of the SLS and Orion will push private companies SpaceX and Boeing to complete quickly develop their manned spacecraft that will be used for the delivery of American astronauts to the ISS.
The Vice President also noted that the US government is working with Congress to provide $ 500 million to develop the station moved into the production phase.
“We are separated by only a few years from the launch of the first building blocks of the Gateway to space. In addition, we are actively working on that until the end of 2024 to send American astronauts to the Lunar Orbital Platform,” said Pence.
“We want to return to the moon. However, this time we are not satisfied only to leave footprints on it. For US it’s time to take advantage of all that we have learned over the decades and to establish a permanent presence on the moon and in close proximity to it,” he said.
The desire to create a circumlunar space station, it became known in 2017, however, talks about the possibility of establishing an international lunar station began in 2013. Previously it was assumed that the station will be called Deep Space Gateway. After a while the name was decided to replace Lunar Orbital Platform — Gateway.
In early April it became known that RSC Energia proposed to manufacture a gateway module for the new lunar orbital station, but the funding of the development was proposed to divide between American and European parties.