Lunar Mission Gets A Boost With Budget, ISS Partners
A lot of speculations have been going on in recent times with NASA rekindling its interests in conducting lunar missions after an almost 50 years hiatus and it recently got a boost in the budget needed for the explorations by partnering with the International Space Station.
Along with the fated partnership, a budget request was made for 2020, which sought $821 million for work on the lunar Gateway. This project has been called the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway as well as Deep Space Gateway recently. For 2019, the budget allocated by Congress for it stands at $450 million. Once the funding is approved, there will be increased development of the first module, which includes the Propulsion and Power element, an important aspect of the provision of propulsion that will maneuver in the cislunar space. The final selection of the industry from which the Gateway is to be developed is being looked at by NASA, with the final decision expected to come by May.
The administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, talked about the development of the Gateway and also the budget request that has been made. The role of the propulsion was also emphasized by him while releasing a list of potential contribution internationally. The European Space Agency is slated to develop and contribute a module called the European System Providing Refueling, Infrastructure and Telecommunication also called the ESPRIT while the Canadian agency is responsible for the robotics associated with Gateway. ESA or JAXA, a Japanese agency, will provide a habitation module.
The ISS Multilateral Coordination Board also acknowledged that the Gateway is the next critical step in broadening the horizon for extensive lunar exploration research and thus deserves the attention and development. Along with the agencies that are in partnership with the ISS and have already promised contributions, NASA has also kept the door open for all the other agencies around the world that may not be a part of the ISS but have enough to contribute to the latest cause.