European Gateway module to be built in France as Thomas Pesquet readies for second spaceflight

Science & Exploration


ESA signed a contract at the moment with Thales Alenia Space to begin constructing the European module for the lunar Gateway that can present the brand new human exploration facility with communications and refuelling.

The Gateway idea
The Gateway is being built by the companions of the International Space Station and can allow sustainable exploration round – and on – the Moon, whereas permitting for house analysis and demonstrating the applied sciences and processes mandatory to conduct a future mission to Mars.The European System Providing Refueling, Infrastructure and Telecommunications, or ESPRIT, will be a cylindrical module with house for astronauts to work in, very like an International Space Station module. It will embody an observatory providing 360° views of the Moon and spacecraft as they dock with the lunar outpost.

ESPRIT will encompass two principal parts: a system to present knowledge, voice and video communications from the Gateway to the Moon and a refueling module that can present the Gateway with xenon and chemical propellants. The refueling ingredient will guarantee Gateway has gasoline for sustaining its orbit as nicely as supporting future reusable lunar landers and additional deep house transport.The communications ingredient is beneath fast-track growth for launch in 2024 – mounted on the primary US Gateway module, named HALO – whereas the refueling module will be prepared for launch in 2026. The contract is value 296.5 million Euros and can see the module being built by Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France, in a joint effort with Thales Alenia Space in Italy and the United Kingdom.

Gateway with Orion docking over Moon
“Development of the Gateway is accelerating thanks to this new contract and European expertise,” says David Parker, ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration. “In just a few years we will witness humankind – including European astronauts – working together in orbit around the Moon and supporting surface exploration.  Coming on top of our existing contributions to Orion and the recent contract for the International Habitation module, I-Hab, Europe is now a core partner in Artemis, contributing to lunar transportation, infrastructure, technology and science.”

Station to Gateway

The Gateway is a part of the Artemis programme to go ahead to the Moon. It builds on the exemplary collaboration between house companies over greater than 20 years of flying astronauts to the International Space Station. The foundations for the ESPRIT module are based mostly on the expertise of designing, constructing and working current Space Station parts flying 400 km above Earth. Now this functionality will be prolonged one thousand instances additional into house.“This contract further cements Thales Alenia Space as a leader in designing and building human spaceflight pressurised structures. Our team is already responsible for more than half the volume of the International Space Station and we will now be working on most of the Gateway modules, including ESA’s International Habitation module and providing the primary structure for NASA’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) in partnership with Northrop Grumman. The company is also involved in the Axiom commercial space station by providing the two first modules”, says Massimo Claudio Comparini, Senior Executive Vice President Observation, Exploration and Navigation at Thales Alenia Space..

Thomas Pesquet spacesuit testing
French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is returning to the International Space Station later this yr to stay for six months in modules that kind the idea for the Gateway design. He is coaching extensively for his second mission, known as Alpha, and is happy by the prospect of future missions to the Moon.”I am thrilled that Europe is on a direct track for the Moon, and I am happy that France capitalises on its expertise to build critical hardware! With ESA having secured participation of European astronauts on three flights to the Gateway, I hope that in the not-too-distant future I will be one of them, working with the ESPRIT module and using its hardware to communicate with the Moon. The foundations for this are being built right now in Cannes, where I was an engineering intern at the very beginning of my career! ”

Cannes seen from house by Thomas Pesquet
Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of France’s house company CNES shares this sentiment. “We are pleased to see that the next generation of human exploration hardware is being built in France; the design and building of this module is an international project that will have its roots in Cannes.“The future for human space exploration is bright and we are eagerly looking forward to the discoveries and other benefits it brings back to Earth.”

Human and robotic exploration advantages infographic

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