STATES CHRONICLE – NASA is continuing the development of their plans regarding the cislunar human outstation. In the upcoming months, NASA will reveal how they will build this outpost. They plan to create this gateway outpost to help in future human missions. Bill Gerstenmaier is a NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations.
On March 8, during the American Astronautical Society’s Goddard Memorial Symposium, Gerstenmaier stated that he was examining some concepts for deploying the first elements which were bound to be used in the proposed outstation as secondary payloads on the first flights of the Space Launch System. He also claimed that there is a certain sense of pressure when it comes to collecting what it could be the most suitable elements to fly them on the primary missions of SLS which to support the building of the cislunar outstation.
NASA researchers need to decide what they should use as cargo on those missions. The outpost represents a collection of other modules, cargo and habitation bound to support crews of astronauts working in the orbit of the moon or cislunar space for extended periods. Orion spaceship will be there to offer rides to astronauts to and from the outstation.
There, they could test innovative technologies and undergo work meant to support the long-term plans of NASA for human missions to the Red Planet in the 2030s. Gerstenmaier also claimed that the developmental process of the outpost could start with the 2nd and 3rd SLS missions, namely EM-2 an EM-3. They would constitute the first flights if the SLS which will use the powerful Exploration Upper Stage (EUS).
That particular version of the SLS will be able to transport secondary payloads which could weigh up to several thousand kilograms within the spacecraft’s Universal Stage Adapter which represents an area between the Orion spaceship and the EUS. Latest schedules indicated that the launch of EM-2 was estimated to happen in 2021.
Gerstenmaier noted that this situation determines NASA to make a decision as soon as possible on what elements should be transported on that first launch. They need to decide on what the cargo will contain, how they will develop the equipment and whom they partner with. They will work on planning what goes on the initial flights towards the outpost.
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