NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) have finalized an agreement to collaborate on the Artemis Gateway. This agreement is an important element in a broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration and to demonstrate technologies necessary for a future human mission to Mars. The agreement, signed Tuesday, marks NASAs first formal commitment to launch international crew members to the lunar vicinity as part of NASAs Artemis missions.
The agreement is a critical part of NASAs efforts to lead an unprecedented global coalition to the Moon. Additional Gateway agreements with other international partners will be executed in the near future, further contributing to the creation of a dynamic and sustainable lunar exploration architecture.
Under this agreement, ESA will contribute habitation and refueling modules, along with enhanced lunar communications, to the Gateway. The refueling module also will include crew observation windows. In addition to providing the hardware, ESA will be responsible for operations of the Gateway elements it provides. ESA also provides two additional European Service Modules (ESMs) for NASAs Orion spacecraft. These ESMs will propel and power Orion in space on future Artemis missions and provide air and water for its crew.
This partnership leverages the outstanding cooperation established by the International Space Station as we push forward to the Moon, said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. Gateway will continue to expand NASAs cooperation with international partners like ESA, ensuring the Artemis program results in the safe and sustainable exploration of the Moon after the initial human lunar landing and beyond.
The International Habitation module (I-Hab) includes components Japan intends to contribute and two docking ports where human landing systems can aggregate. The habitation module also will house the outposts Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), contain accommodations for internal and external science experiments, and provide additional crew work and living space. I-Hab’s ECLSS will augment Gateway’s life support system capabilities provided by the docked Orion, enabling longer durations at the Gateway and support more robust Artemis missions to the lunar surface.