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NASA, MBRSC Collaborate on Artemis Lunar Gateway Airlock

The Artemis Lunar Gateway, poised to be humanity's inaugural space station orbiting the Moon.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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NASA and UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) revealed plans to intensify their collaboration by providing an airlock for the Artemis Lunar Gateway, according to a statement from NASA.[1]

The Artemis Lunar Gateway, poised to be humanity's inaugural space station orbiting the Moon, is slated to play a pivotal role in supporting NASA's extensive exploration missions as part of the ambitious Artemis program.

 MBRSC is set to contribute the Crew and Science Airlock module for the Gateway.

The UAE will not only supply the critical airlock. Still, it will also furnish an astronaut slated to partake in an upcoming Artemis mission, thereby contributing to the ongoing international initiatives geared toward lunar exploration.

Beyond the airlock's provision, MBRSC has committed to providing engineering support for the entire operational lifespan of the lunar space station.

The airlock, a crucial component, will facilitate seamless transfers between the habitable environment of Gateway's pressurized crew modules and the vacuum of space. This functionality is expected to not only bolster essential scientific research in the deep space environment but also play a vital role in the maintenance of the Gateway.

Gateway envisioned as a space station, is designed to serve as a residence for astronauts and a central staging point for lunar surface missions. The prospect of conducting spacewalks while orbiting the Moon underscores the substantial significance of this collaborative venture.

The lunar Gateway was envisioned as an extension of the existing International Space Station partnership, with contributions from the United States, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The Gateway will operate in a near-rectilinear halo orbit around the moon to support landings at the lunar south polar region. It will be built up over a series of missions, starting with the launch of a propulsion element and habitation module on a Falcon Heavy in 2025.

NASA's Artemis program, a diverse coalition of nations dedicated to human exploration in deep space, includes partners such as the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), European Space Agency (ESA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and now the MBRSC. Together, they are committed to returning humans to the lunar surface, fostering scientific discovery, and laying the groundwork for pioneering human missions to Mars.

Building upon the successful history of cooperation, NASA and the UAE collaborated in human spaceflight, with Hazzaa Almansoori making history as the first Emirati to journey to space in 2019. Collaborative efforts continued with Sultan Al Neyadi's participation in scientific research during NASA's SpaceX Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station in 2023.

Demonstrating the UAE's commitment to space exploration, two additional astronaut candidates are currently training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Moreover, the collaboration extends beyond lunar exploration to encompass Mars research, human research, and analog studies that align with mutual exploration priorities.

Both the US and the UAE, as original signatories in 2020, reaffirmed their dedication to advancing NASA's 21st-century lunar exploration program through the Artemis Accords.

NASA, through the Artemis program, aspires to make history by landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon's surface. This endeavor serves as a critical stepping stone in establishing a sustained human presence on the Moon, laying the foundation for the ultimate dream of sending astronauts to Mars.

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