The European Space Agency (ESA) has teamed up with NASA to supply critical technologies for the Artemis Gateway Mission.
Approximately one-sixth the size of the International Space Station (ISS), the Gateway will be an outpost orbiting the Moon and will provide vital support for a sustainable, long-term human return to the lunar surface.
The Gateway will also play a vital role in sending the first humans to Mars along with the Space Launch System (SLS) – NASA’s most powerful rocket ever – and the Orion spacecraft.
The ESA collaboration is a critical part of NASA’s efforts to lead an unprecedented global coalition to the Moon.
Under this agreement, the European space agency will contribute habitation, refueling modules with crew observation windows, and enhanced lunar communications to the Gateway.
ESA will also provide two additional European Service Modules (ESMs) for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
These ESMs will propel and power Orion in space on future Artemis missions and provide air and water for its crew.
The International Habitation module (I-Hab) includes components Japan intends to contribute and two docking ports where human landing systems can aggregate.
The habitation module also will house the outpost’s Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), contain accommodations for internal and external science experiments, and provide additional crew work and living space.
In March, the first two scientific investigations to fly aboard the Gateway were selected, one from NASA and the other from ESA.
ESA developed the European Radiation Sensors Array (ERSA), and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is building the Heliophysics Environmental and Radiation Measurement Experiment Suite (HERMES).
The two mini weather stations will split up the work, with ERSA monitoring space radiation at higher energies with a focus on astronaut protection, while HERMES monitors lower energies critical to scientific investigations of the Sun.
Image and content: NASA