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The lunar space station, Gateway, will orbit the moon in an ellipse — with a path that will resemble a halo — when it is assembled in the next decade, NASA and the European Space Agency have announced.
The station will act as a half-way house between the Earth and the Moon, acting as a place of shelter, making trips to the moon more efficient and providing a launch pad for missions heading further out into the solar system.
International - Space - Station - Gateway - Base
Much like the International Space Station, the Gateway will be a permanent base on which astronauts will live for extended periods, conducting research on-board and making regular excursions down to the moon's surface.
A stepping stone to allow astronauts to more easily travel to the Moon as well as a forward outpost for crewed excursions further into the solar system, the Lunar Orbital Platform is due for construction within the next decade.
Months - Consideration - Debate - Mission - Planners
After months of consideration and debate, mission planners from NASA and the European Space Agency have determined the best orbit for the new space station.
Instead of following a low, circular orbit around the moon like the Apollo spacecraft, Gateway will follow an elliptical path known as a 'Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit'.
Station - Moon - End - Loop - Point
The station will go around the moon at one end of its loop and, at the other, a so-called Lagrangian point, where the forces between the Earth and the moon are balanced against the centripetal force of orbital motion.
This orbit will allow astronauts to make trips to and from the lunar surface every seven days — when the station is...
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