NASA's Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will not begin construction until 2022, but the space agency has started looking for companies that will deliver cargo to the planned station.
Artemis Moon Missions Resupply Opportunity
This week, the space agency issued an open call for industry feedback on future opportunities for American companies to support the Artermis program. Like the International Space Station, the Gateway will require regular resupply missions and cargo deliveries during construction (which, the agency projected to last for at least six years) and upon completion, when the space station is ready to welcome astronauts.
"The Gateway, and specifically our logistics supply requirements, enables the deep space supply chain, taking the next step toward further commercialization of space," stated Mark Wiese, a logistics element manager at Kennedy Space Center. "In addition to delivering cargo, science, and other supplies to the Gateway with these services, there's potential for an extension to industry to deliver other elements of our lunar architecture with this solicitation."
NASA's Gateway To The Moon And Deep Space
The Gateway is part of NASA's plan to return to the Moon in five years and maintain a sustainable presence on the Earth's natural satellite. The orbiting outpost will serve as a platform for astronauts who will come in and come out of the lunar surface during missions as well as for scientific observations and experiments in space.
The United States is set to vacate its side of the ISS by 2024.
The announcement is only asking for proposals right now, and not for providers to submit formal bids. A formal solicitation for a firm-fixed-price contract is expected to be issued later this summer. The agency said that the contract award for all Gateway services over the course of 15 years will be valued at $7 billion.
The industry comments are due on July 10. NASA, however, will host a Q&A in Florida on June 26.
"We're using the Moon as a proving ground for Mars to develop the technologies and systems we need for exploration farther into the solar system, so we look forward to seeing how industry responds to our upcoming solicitation, and potentially awarding multiple contracts for this lunar service," added Marshall Smith, director of the human lunar exploration programs at NASA.