The Gateway is Coming Soon to an Orbiting Body Near You.
So, the Lunar Gateway is a thing.
We’re not sure how we missed this. We must have been up to our eyeballs, making fantastic science fiction books. Regardless, the Gateway is happening. It was announced in November of 2018… So, not new news, but new to us. If you somehow missed it too, the Gateway is a space station that will orbit the moon. This impressive piece of engineering and science will be our springboard into the great beyond. Construction around the moon will begin in 2022 and NASA is handing out contracts to private companies like mini Snickers at Halloween. That’s how we found out about it.
With all the hype surrounding Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin and good old Elon Musk and his Mars lust, the Gateway has been a bit overshadowed. But, Sierra Nevada Corporation (not the brewery, unfortunately) announced that it had completed a prototype inflatable habitat for Gateway this week. The humble station will be much smaller than the ISS (think studio apartment versus six-bedroom ranch style abode) but will make up for it by being the first station to orbit something other than Earth. The Gateway will be completed by 2026, just seven short years from now. Before then, it will serve as a base for missions to the moon’s surface, conduct a variety of experiments, and send back a boatload of data. Exciting times.
NASA’s Gateway information page: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/questions-nasas-new-spaceship
Sierra Nevada Corp announces prototype inflatable habitat: https://www.space.com/sierra-nevada-inflatable-habitat-moon-gateway.html