Like a celestial Lego set, a new NASA video shows parts of a lunar station coming together.
Gateway, a space station which will support the Artemis human missions to the moon, will require several assembly missions, shown in detail in a new YouTube video (opens in new tab) from the NASA Johnson Space Center.
The new moon-orbiting station will host crews only occasionally, making it distinct from the International Space Station (ISS) that has hosted crews continuously since 2000. But both stations share the capability of rapid assembly by astronauts and machines.
As seen in the video, Gateway's tenure will begin with a power and propulsion element, supplied by Maxar Technologies, docking with a habitation and logistics outpost from Northrop Grumman. Following these, the first crew will come, along with a European Space Agency-supplied I-Hab (habitat module).
The video then shows the sequence of human missions and other elements that will be arriving on the space station, notably including the Canadarm3 robotic arm from the Canadian Space Agency, built by MDA.
Gateway will be used as a supply station for missions to the moon, although NASA has removed it from the "critical path" for the very first missions.
The first mission in the Artemis series, an uncrewed test flight dubbed Artemis 1, will blast off as soon as Aug. 29. Artemis 2, a moon-orbiting mission with humans, is scheduled for 2024 and Artemis 3, a crewed landing mission, no earlier than 2025.