WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The assembly of the Gateway lunar outpost will begin no earlier than May 2024, NASA said in a statement Tuesday.
“NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), the foundational elements of the Gateway. As the first long-term orbiting outpost around the Moon, the Gateway is critical to supporting sustainable astronauts missions under the agency’s Artemis program,” NASA said.
“After integration on Earth, the PPE and HALO are targeted to launch together no earlier than May 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The total cost to NASA is approximately $331.8 million, including the launch service and other mission-related costs,” it said.
Earlier, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said that NASA plans the first human lunar settlement in 2028, four years after a scheduled visit to the Moon’s south pole by two American astronauts in 2024.