NASA and ESA have entered into a formal cooperation agreement on the creation of a space transfer station “Gateway” (Gateway). This is part of the US initiative to involve as many partners as possible in this project and in the Artemis program, dedicated to the return of humanity to the moon. The Europeans have a specific task – they will build several key modules of the station.
The construction of the Gate is scheduled for 2024. The station will initially be very modest, less than one-sixth the size of the ISS. It will be assembled from ready-made modules, which for this will be moved to the Lagrange point between the Earth and the Moon. There is no protection from cosmic radiation, but at this point the gravitational fields of the planet and its satellite are balanced, which makes the position extremely convenient for creating a staging post on the way to the Moon.
ESA will undertake to manufacture a living module for the Gate, develop a communication system and create a refueling module, which it decided to make with portholes for better visibility. In parallel, the Americans ordered the Europeans two service modules for their Orion spacecraft, on which the historic flight to the moon will be carried out. These are complex objects that have power, air and water systems for the needs of the crew, plus their own engines.
It is stated that the Gate will become an international project; any lunar mission will have access to the station after the completion of the work. Including programs not only from different countries, but also from private companies. For example, if someone creates a promising technology for flying to Mars, it can first be tested on this space station.