Some industry officials say NASA should have a contract in place within the following 12 months for the design of a “utilization” or “mini-hab” module of its proposed Gateway lunar space station in order to achieve its aim of landing astronauts on the surface of the moon by 2024, SpaceNews reported Monday.
“If you want to get the habitat on schedule, you’ve got to move,” said Peter McGrath, director of global sales and marketing for space exploration at Boeing.
“So if you’re talking about ’24 and you want to get this up in ’23, that puts you in about a yearlong window of opportunity,” he added.
Neeraj Gupta, director of advanced development at Sierra Nevada Corporation, believes that the industry is capable of producing the technology, but agrees that time is an issue.
“Contracting mechanisms, and the speed of getting all these things awarded and solidified, that’s the thing I think that’s the tallest pole.”
McGrath, Gupta and other industry executives said they believe the use of existing designs for the mini-habitation module could help NASA meet its schedule for the lunar landing mission.
According to the report, the space agency released a request for proposals for Gateway’s power and propulsion element in 2018 and has begun assessing offers for the PPE.