Science and Exploration

Gateway’s Propulsion System Testing Throttles Up

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
June 5, 2022
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Gateway’s Propulsion System Testing Throttles Up
Gateway’s Propulsion System

The powerhouse of Gateway, NASA’s orbiting outpost around the Moon and a critical piece of infrastructure for Artemis, is in the midst of several electric propulsion system tests.
The Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), being manufactured by Maxar Technologies, provides Gateway with power, high-rate communications, and propulsion for maneuvers around the Moon and to transit between different orbits.

The PPE will be combined with the Habitation and Logistic Outpost (HALO) before the integrated spacecraft’s launch, targeted for late 2024 aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Together, these elements will serve as the hub for early Gateway crewed operations and various science and technology demonstrations as the full Gateway station is assembled around it in the coming years.

In this image from April, PPE engineers successfully tested the integration of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s thruster with Maxar’s power procession unit and Xenon Flow Controller.

Image Credit: NASA larger image

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.