According to reports, N.A.S.A. has now tapped SpaceX to launch the first two segments of the Lunar Gateway station to the Moon. Set to take place in 2024 from the Kennedy Space Center, a Falcon Heavy rocket from Elon Musk‘s aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company will be carrying the parts that will make up a small space station in lunar orbit into space. The $331.8 million USD agreement is the second launch contract N.A.S.A. has rewarded SpaceX in recent weeks.
A major part of N.A.S.A.’s Artemis Program, the Lunar Gateway station will serve as a solar-powered communication hub, science laboratory, short-term habitation module and holding area for rovers and other robots. In collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and commercial partners, the project will advance robotic and crewed exploration of the lunar south pole. It is also important to note the station is being proposed as the staging point for N.A.S.A.’s Deep Space Transport concept for transport to Mars.
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