ESA, Thales Alenia Space sign contract to build European module for upcoming Lunar Gateway

The module will have a small, pressurised workspace for the crew and large windows offering 360-degree views.

European Space Agency (ESA) signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space to build the European module for the Lunar Gateway that will provide the new human exploration facility with communications and refuelling. According to a statement by ESA, the Gateway is being built by the partners of the International Space Station (ISS) and will enable sustainable exploration around and on the surface of the Moon It will also allow for space research and the demonstration of technologies and processes needed to conduct future missions to Mars.

ESA, in the statement, said that the European System Providing Refuelling, Infrastructure and Telecommunications module (ESPRIT) will be a cylindrical module with space for astronauts to work in, much like an International Space Station module. It will offer 360-degree views of the Moon and spacecraft as they dock with the lunar outpost.

ESPRIT will consist of two main elements, the Halo Lunar Communication System (HLCS) and the ESPRIT Refuelling Module (ERM). The HCLS will provide the Gateway space station with data, voice and video communications, while the ERM will enable the station to receive propellants from visiting spacecraft to maintain its orbit around the moon and refuel vehicles transiting to the lunar surface. The module will also offer a small, pressurised workspace for the crew, and large windows offering 360-degree views.

David Parker, ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration stated that in just a few years they will witness humankind working together in orbit around the Moon and supporting surface exploration.

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