The United States space agency’s Lunar Space Station – Gateway will orbit the moon in an ellipse. And NASA and the European Space Agency consider it can be assembled within the next decade. The station will act as a half-way house between the moon and the earth. This making journeys to the Moon more efficient in addition to offering a launchpad for deep space missions.
The Gateway will probably be a permanent base on which astronauts will stay for extended periods, conducting analysis on-board and making regular visits to the lunar surface.
After months of consideration and debate, mission planners from NASA and the (ESA) European Space Agency have calculated the best orbit for the next-generation space station.
rather than tracing a low, circular orbit around the Moon just like the Apollo spacecraft, Gateway will follow an elliptical path referred to as a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit.
The space station will go around the Moon at one end of its loop and, at the other, a so-known as Lagrangian level, where the forces between the Earth and the Moon are balanced towards the centripetal force of orbital motion.
This orbit will assist astronauts in making round journeys to and from the Moon every seven days — when the station is closest to the moon, only 1,860 miles (2,993km) distant via a lunar lander.
The lander may be used to transport tools, robots, and building infrastructure to the lunar floor.
European Space Operations Centre mission analyst Florian Renk, stated: “To escape Earth’s gravitational pull requires a huge quantity of energy.
“To then land on the Moon and never hurtle straight past it, we’ve got to slow down by dropping that same energy.’