NASA Plans to Build Space Station in Moon’s Orbit by Mid-2020s

NASA has started with the planning of a small space station in the moon’s orbit, hoping it will become active by the mid-2020s.

According to USA Today, the “gateway” facility would make regular manned missions to the moon more feasible. In the last several years there is a boom in private sector companies that main product is sending stuff into space.

“What happened to the commercial launch industry is about to happen to the commercial lunar industry,” Bob Richards, CEO of Moon Express, told the paper. “I think there are very strong analogies between the two.”

Moon Express was founded in 2010, and its primary objective is scouting and mining the moon for resources.

The company in the last several years has worked on lowering the cost of robotic lunar missions.

Richards also stated that he believes that humans will be able to stay on the moon in the coming years.

President Donald Trump’s December 2017 directive pushing NASA to send astronauts back to the moon, which hasn’t seen a manned American mission since 1972’s Apollo 17, is the main reason for this project. This is considered a major shift from the Obama administration’s focus on sending people to Mars before 2030.

NASA reported that it works with companies like Moon Express on plans to fly robotic landers carrying scientific instruments to the moon as early as 2019.

USA Today noted that the planned NASA space station wouldn’t be able to send astronauts to the moon’s surface without a lander supplied by commercial or international partners. Companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are expected to be responsible for that part.

Last week, Israel announced its intention to land a mission on the moon with the help of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Meanwhile, Friday is the 49th anniversary of mankind’s giant leap, when Apollo 11 touched down on the moon in 1969.

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