Northrop Grumman will build the HALO module

The NASA communicated the finalization of the contract with Northrop Grumman for the construction of the module HALO (Habitation and Logistics Outpost) per il Gateway, the small space station that will orbit the Moon and which will act as an outpost for astronauts sent to the natural satellite of the Earth. The amount paid by the US space agency is 935 million dollars.

HALO, housing module of the Gateway

The construction of the Gateway is part of the program Artemis which predicts the return of man to the moon in 2024, therefore more than 50 years after the Apollo 17 mission. The Gateway will consist of seven modules, but the two most important are PPE and HALO. The PPE (Power and Propulsion Element), built by Maxar Technologies, is the module that provides the propulsion to the Gateway, while HALO (Habitation and Logistics Outpost) is the housing module.

In addition to its construction, Northrop Grumman will also take care of the integration between HALO and PPE. Both will be launched in November 2024 with the Falcon Heavy rocket of SpaceX. HALO will house the Gateway’s astronauts and control systems. It will also be used for the connection of the Orion spacecraft, lunar landers and freighters for supplies.

The construction of the Gateway represents an example of international collaboration. Backup batteries for HALO will be provided by JAXA (Japanese space agency), CSA (Canadian space agency) will provide a robotic arm, while THAT (European space agency) will take care of the communication system between the Gateway and the lunar surface.

If there are no delays, the mission Artemis will begin in November 2021 with the testing of the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft. Two years later, the first manned launch and overflight of the Moon are expected. In 2024, two astronauts are expected to touch the lunar surface.

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