NASA sets its sights on Deep Space Gateway

Deep Space Gateway
An artist’s conception shows the Deep Space Gateway in the vicinity of the moon, with an Orion crew vehicle nearby. (NASA Illustration)

President Donald Trump hasn’t yet revealed his choice for NASA administrator, but the space agency is already shifting the focus of its exploration program to a way station known as the Deep Space Gateway.

The concept for a habitable platform in the vicinity of the moon, known as cislunar space, was fleshed out this week on NASA’s website, and during meetings of the NASA Advisory Council in Washington, D.C.

Payloads and astronauts could be sent to the gateway starting in the 2020s using the heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and the Orion crew vehicle, both of which are still under development.

The gateway would be a crew-tended spaceport with a high-power electric propulsion system.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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