Halo orbit chosen for Gateway space station

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NASA and the European Space Agency have decided on a halo orbit for humanity's first lunar outpost.

According to an ESA press release, the Gateway space station will follow a near-rectilinear halo orbit, or NRHO. Gateway will pass 3,000 kilometers from the lunar surface ant its closest, and 70,000 kilometers at its furthest. One revolution around the moon takes approximately seven days.

The ESA reports that a halo orbit is possible due to the gravitational interplay between the Earth and the Moon, which creates a small area of stability or near-stability known as libration or Lagrange points.

But as an NRHO isn't entirely stable, the Gateway will require periodic maneuvering to keep it from drifting off-course.

The space station is slated for completion in the mid-2020s. NASA calls for launching the power and propulsion module into space in 2022. Two additional launches by 2025 will add habitation, logistics, and airlock functions.

According to the ESA, Gateway will serve as a staging post where astronauts can dock and leave their spacecraft, then travel to the lunar surface in a lander.

It will also provide them shelter, a place to stock up on fuel and supplies and relay communications, and a base to dispatch crew and robots to the moon.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. NASA's Gateway Space Station
2. Gateway station's halo orbit
3. Seven-day orbit
4. Gateway station completion date
5. Gateway as lunar staging post
6. Gateway as base for astronauts

VOICEOVER (in English):
"NASA is planning to build a station for astronauts orbiting the moon, a project known as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway."

"According to an ESA press release, the Gateway space station will follow a near-rectilinear[a] halo orbit, or NRHO."

"Gateway will pass 3,000 kilometers from the lunar surface at its closest, and 70,000 kilometers at its furthest. One revolution around the moon takes approximately seven days."

"The ESA reports that a halo orbit is possible due to the gravitational interplay between the Earth and the Moon, which creates a small area of stability or near-stability known as libration or Lagrange points."

"But as an NRHO isn't entirely stable, the Gateway will require periodic maneuvering to keep it from drifting off-course."

"The space station is slated for completion in the mid-2020s."

"According to Space.com, NASA's 2019 fiscal budget request calls for a 2022 launch of the power and propulsion module."

"Two additional launches by 2025 will add habitation, logistics, and airlock functions."

"According to the ESA, Gateway will serve as a staging post where astronauts can dock and leave their spacecraft, then travel to the lunar surface in a lander."

"It will also provide them shelter, a place to stock up on fuel and supplies and relay communications, and a base to dispatch crew and robots to the moon."


SOURCES: European Space Agency, Space.com
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Angelic_halo_orbit_chosen_for_humankind_s_first_lunar_outpost
https://www.space.com/39985-nasa-lunar-orbital-platform-gateway-science-plan.html