The project could also include China, India and other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
The director general of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, Igor Komarov, has announced an agreement with NASA for the joint development of a new space station in lunar orbit.
“We agreed to jointly execute the project for a new international space station that would function in the lunar orbit,” said Komarov in Adelaide, Australia, where he attends the International Congress of Astronautics (IAC 2017), according to Sputniknews.com.
The project, named by NASA “Deep Space Gateway”, could also include China, India and other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
As previously reported by NASA, this lunar space station will have a dual purpose: it will serve as a testing ground for the operations and technology needed for missions to the Red Planet, and will be the “port” from which to launch a manned mission of a whole year.
Anteroom of Mars
“In the first phase of the project we will build the station to apply the experience gained on the surface of the Moon and later on the surface of Mars,” said Komarov.
In addition, he has commented that the first modules of the new space station would be carried to the lunar orbit between 2024 and 2026. The chief of Roscosmos specifies that Russia would create until three modules and would elaborate the standards of the unified device of coupling.
“The contribution of Russia will consist of creating up to three modules and developing the unified coupling device for all ships that will be hooked to the new space station,” said the general director of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos.
In addition, Komarov added that Russia is considering using its new superheavy rocket, now under development, to bring the space station modules to lunar orbit.
In turn, the director of the Roscosmos Manned Flights Program, Sergei Krikaliov, commented that Russia could also design the housing module for the new station. As he explained, the contribution that each participant will make in the “Deep Space Gateway” project will materialize in the next negotiations.
“For now we have the joint declaration of intentions regarding the project of space station in lunar orbit and later we will study to send missions to the surfaces of the Moon and Mars”, has related the director of the Program of Manned Flights of Roscosmos.