NASA has decided to launch first 2 elements of its Lunar Gateway through SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. The 2 Gateway pieces, one astronaut living quarter and propulsion module, were designed originally for a separate launch; however NASA chose the Falcon Heavy rocket as its launcher for a whopping $332mn.
The Falcon Heavy, which is SpaceX’s powerful operation rocket, would send the two Gateways, PPE (Power and Propulsion Element) and its HALO (Habitation and Logistics Outpost), to space in a combined payload by May 2024, said NASA through a statement.
NASA initially planned to get the HALO, developed by Northrop and PPE, developed by Maxar, mate in the space post their launch on two distinct rockets; however it decided previous year to launch these two together in one single space mission for reducing costs.
But sadly, it added to the cost because of redesigning of many components for PPE and HALO both, informed the agency’s inspector generate in one report previous year. It further said that launching both of them together could prove to be risky, as the payload might be very heavy for the available rockets.
Moreover, the report discovered that integrating the elements will likely result in a flight with a longer durationto the lunar orbit that may add to the cost of the mission.