content 22-October-2017 13:52:15

What is the Deep Space Gateway?

The Deep Space Gateway will be humanity's first spaceship, a crewed platform in deep space from which human exploration of the Solar System can set forth.

During the 2020s, the Deep Space Gateway will be assembled and operated in the vicinity of the Moon, where it will move between different orbits and enable the most distant human space missions ever attempted. The Deep Space Gateway will be a testing ground for the challenges of long-duration human missions in the environment of deep space.

The Deep Space Gateway initiative is being led by the International Space Station partners: ESA, NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, and CSA. Plans are currently at an early stage of definition and envision a power and propulsion system, a small habitat for the crew, a docking capability, an airlock, and logistics modules.

More information on the Deep Space Gateway is provided on this NASA page.

Lunar Vicinity

The area of space around the Moon can be an effective location from which to travel to other destinations in the Solar System, such as the Moon or Mars. The radiation environment there is also representative of deep space.

The gateway could be an enabling infrastructure for human and robotic missions that access the lunar surface with the ability to return to Earth.

In its initial configuration, the platform can act as a mothership for lunar exploration. Astronauts will regularly visit the spaceship as they prepare for missions to deep space and they will perform experiments, control vehicles on the Moon, pick up samples, and test new technologies.

These missions will help develop new techniques and apply innovative approaches in preparation for longer-duration missions of­ up to 90 days, far from Earth.

How do we get there?

The period of exploration in the near-Moon region will begin with Exploration Mission-1. This uncrewed flight test will be the first for the Orion spacecraft atop NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful booster ever built. Orion's propulsion and life support systems are provided by the European Service Module which is being provided by ESA.

Exploration Mission-1 will pave the way for following crewed missions, which will also assemble the Deep Space Gateway. The target launch date for Exploration Mission-1 is 2019.

Flight hardware for SLS and Orion is currently in production, life support and related technologies are being tested on the International Space Station, and habitation and propulsion development activities are progressing.


Last Update: 21 August 2017

For further information please contact: RoboticExploration@esa.int

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