NASA’s Exploration Campaign will provide a Gateway as an orbital outpost for human and robotic exploration in deep space. The agency released a draft solicitation via BAA Board Agency Announcement yesterday, June 21.
NASA solicits international and commercial partners to develop the first element of the Gateway that’ll lead it to support exploration not just on the moon and Mars but beyond. It asks to involve a high-power 50-KW SEP (solar electric propulsion) spacecraft and further arrangements on controls and communications.
Additionally, NASA will be hosting an industry day on coming July 10 at its Glenn Research Center in Cleveland before issuing the final BAA. Details on the industry day are given on the presently issued BAA.
NASA will ask for a public or private partnership via the solicitation, which includes a flight demonstration of the spacecraft’s power and propulsion. The demonstration will last for one year in space after the launch of the spacecraft. In the follow-up, NASA will want to acquire it to use as the first element of the Gateway in lunar orbit. Naturally, high-rate and reliable communications are expected between earth and deep space.
Going by the development of the present planning for the Gateway, NASA targets launching a commercial rocket in 2022. Furthermore, the agency’s NextSTEP (Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships) will provide future habitation capabilities in the Gateway. There are five companies in contract with the organization that is creating full Gateway concepts.