In a press release, NASA shared it has officially awarded a launch contract to SpaceX to transport its foundational elements for Gateway, the very first long-term Moon-orbiting outpost. The elements include the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), as well as the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), both playing critical roles under the agency’s Artemis program.
The launch is expected to take place as early as May 2024, using a Falcon Heavy rocket and lifting off from NASA’s Launch Complex 39A at the Florida Kennedy Space Center. The total cost is expected to be about $331.8 million (USD), and will include both the launch itself and other mission-related expenses.
The PPE and the HALO are both critical pieces of the mission, with the PPE offering power, communications, altitude control, and mobility options between orbits. Alternatively, the HALO component is a pressurized living space, and a stopping point for astronauts traveling to and from the Moon.
The HALO is currently being designed and built by Northrop Grumman Space Systems of Dulles, Virginia, while the PPE is built by Maxar Technologies out of Westminster, Colorado.
Check out Falcon Heavy’s test flight from three years ago below–it still sends chills down our spine, seeing dual Falcon 9 rockets landing by themselves:
SpaceX and NASA have long worked closely together, and this historic mission will offer astronauts easy access to the Moon for the first time ever.
Zachary Visconti is a news writer covering Tesla and other EV companies, as well as stories about electric battery news, autonomous driving, and all things sustainable technology. Currently residing in Santa Rosa, California. Loves his wife, his cat Banks, and a good cup of coffee.