Gateway Can Do It
Gateway provides a number of infrastructure capabilities that will be extremely helpful as NASA partners with industry and international partners to continue to expand into the frontier of deep space.
- ⯈ CubeSat deployment: Cislunar space operations will be supported by CubeSats and other small satellites, which Gateway conveniently will be able to deploy. Current designs would support deployment from the interior via a science airlock, or from the exterior using a robotic arm. Deployment could occur with the assistance of crew, or during uncrewed periods using automated deployment capabilities.
- ⯈ Communications: Gateway will be able to send and receive an extensive volume of data, which will be important for all the science we want to conduct in cislunar space. Gateway can also act as a communication relay for other orbiting assets as well as lunar assets. Additional infrastructure, like cabling and wiring, may be put in place to preserve the unique lack of radio frequency pollution on the farside of the moon. Finally, “new” capabilities like optical communications can be further tested and then utilized at the Gateway.
- ⯈ Telerobotics: Crew members will be able to operate robots on the lunar surface, and when crew aren’t available, we can operate them (albeit less efficiently) from Earth. The Gateway is especially important when we are studying locations in which a direct communications with Earth is not feasible, like the farside, polar regions, and steep terrain. And with Gateway to off-load processing and storage, surface rovers will be able to operate more efficiently. Gateway will also make it possible for positioning and timing to be more precise as it will provide accurate site maps.
It is exciting to consider all the things Gateway will enable us to do in the vicinity of the moon, and all the opportunities that exist for commercial companies and international partners. By providing the backbone—SLS, Orion and the Gateway—the United States government will ensure its leadership on and around the moon.