NASA Picks SpaceX To Fly Cargo To Moon-Orbiting Gateway Space Station

NASA has awarded SpaceX with a contract to supply Gateway, the
moon-orbiting space station that the agency aims to start building
in 2022, agency officials announced Friday. Space.com reports:
Gateway is a key part of NASA’s Artemis exploration program, which
seeks to establish a sustainable, long-term human presence on and
around the moon by the late 2020s. The small space station will
serve as a jumping-off point for sorties, both crewed and uncrewed,
to the lunar surface. SpaceX will help to keep the Gateway
supplied, delivering scientific experiments and a variety of other
gear to the outpost, NASA officials said. The company is guaranteed
two missions under its newly announced Gateway Logistics Services
contract. SpaceX’s robotic ISS resupply runs employ the company’s
Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, which can loft 13,200 lbs.
(6,000 kilograms, or 6 metric tons) to low-Earth orbit. But
SpaceX’s Gateway missions will use different hardware: the huge
Falcon Heavy rocket and a special capsule variant called Dragon XL.
(SpaceX has also developed another Dragon version, Crew Dragon,
which will fly astronauts to and from the ISS under yet another
NASA contract.) Dragon XL will be able to carry more than 5 metric
tons of cargo to the Gateway, SpaceX representatives said via
Twitter Friday. Dragon cargo missions to the ISS typically last
about a month from launch to splashdown. But Dragon XL will likely
stay attached to the Gateway for six to 12 months at a time, NASA
officials said. Other companies may end up joining SpaceX in the
Gateway resupply game.


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Source: *FS – All – Science News 2 Net
NASA Picks SpaceX To Fly Cargo To Moon-Orbiting Gateway Space Station