Published On: Sat, Jun 6th, 2020

Orbital Science wins NASA Gateway contract to enable human habitation

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NASA has awarded a contract worth $187 million for the initial crew module of its Gateway lunar orbiting outpost to Orbital Science, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Space.

The Virginia-based Orbital Science will be responsible for designing the habitation and logistics outpost (HALO) for the Gateway lunar orbiting outpost, which is part of NASA’s Artemis program. The orbiting outpost is aimed to help NASA build a sustainable footprint on the .

Gateway will essentially be a space station that will orbit the moon to offer vital support for long-term human exploration of the lunar surface and deep space.

NASA said that the contract which funds the design of the habitation and logistics outpost via its preliminary design review, which is expected by the end of this year.

Jim Bridenstine – NASA Administrator said: “This contract award is another significant milestone in our plan to build robust and sustainable lunar operations.

“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.”

According to the NASA, the HALO of the Gateway lunar orbiting outpost will be the pressurized living quarters. Astronauts will spend their time at the HALO while visiting the Gateway. HALO will be nearly the size of a small studio apartment and will offer augmented life support alongside NASA’s spacecraft.

The US space agency said that the preliminary design review of HALO is among a series of checkpoints in the design life cycle of a complex engineering project prior to the start of the manufacturing of hardware. NASA, further said that as the review process moves ahead, details of the vehicle’s design will be evaluated to make sure that the overall system is safe and reliable for flight and complies to all its mission requirements.

The HALO design is derived from Northrop Grumman Space’s Cygnus spacecraft

The HALO design is derived from Northrop Grumman Space’s Cygnus spacecraft. Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.

According to Northrop Grumman Space, the design of HALO is derived from its Cygnus spacecraft, which is a human-capable vehicle that delivers supplies, spare equipment, and scientific experiments to the International Space Station.

– vice president of civil and commercial satellites at Northrop Grumman Space said: “The success of our Cygnus spacecraft and its active production line helps to enable Northrop Grumman to deliver the HALO module.

“HALO is an essential element in NASA’s long-term exploration of deep-space, and our HALO program team will continue its work in building and delivering this module in partnership with NASA.”

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