An artist’s conception shows the lunar-orbiting Gateway with Maxar’s Power and Propulsion Element. (Maxar / SSL Illustration)
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine today announced that the first major component for a future mini-space station in lunar orbit will be provided by Maxar Technologies.
“The contractor that will be building that element is … drum roll … Maxar,” Bridenstine said during a talk at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, south of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. “Maxar is going to be building that for the United States of America.”
Maxar’s SSL manufacturing subsidiary will build the Power and Propulsion Element, which will have the solar electric propulsion system for the Gateway space platform. The Gateway is destined to be the staging point for astronauts heading down to the lunar surface by as early as 2024.
To meet that five-year deadline, the Gateway will have only one other component by that time, known as the mini-habitation module. NASA and its international partners expect to add more modules in the years that follow, leading up to a “sustainable” lunar presence by 2028.
Check back for updates to this developing story.