(picture credit – NASA)
The USA has vowed to have a lunar space station in orbit by 2022 and put a crew on it by 2024. Better, it is written into the national budget. The name is LOP-G or Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a next president gives it a more catchy name.
The announcement comes on the heels of a definitive confirmation of water ice on the moon by an international team of researchers.
With a Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), a module to power the station, already under construction together with a first manned module and a crew airlock, and international partners jumping in to add their own modules, the program is already at full speed.
With this effort and commercial efforts under way, humanity will have at least 2 space stations in orbit by 2024; the ISS, the LOP-G and maybe a Bigelow, Axiom or Ixion Station. The world has plenty of crew vehicles coming online. Between november 2018 and 2020 three US vehicles will come online, next to the Russian Soyuz and the Chineze Shenzhou and by 2022 they will be joined by the Indian Crewed Vehicle. Six crew vehicle, each carrying between 4 and 7 crew will be available for ISS and/or Cislunar missions.
What Elon Musk is up to with the crew version of his Big Falcon Rocket, capable of carrying 100 people would the cherry on the cake. Meanwhile ONESTAGETOSPACE is gradually positioning itself to be part of this exciting space renaissance with our own European efforts, the first commercial mission to the Moon in 2019 which is undertaken by a European company, and the European Moon Village concept.
But US Vice President Mike Pence had the honor not only of officialising the LOP-G but also to suggest a return to the surface of the Moon, this time to stay and….:
For the full address: