In late 2017, Boeing unveiled new plans for space gateway and transportation systems to help support NASA’s ambitious space exploration goals, including the Moon and Mars.
Boeing is actively developing NASA’s Space Launch System, which will be used to carry habitable modules into orbit around the Moon. These methods, called “Gateways to Deep Space,” are designed to support scientific research and can be used to facilitate cooperation between governments and private enterprises in deep space exploration and lunar missions. Their work will be powered by solar energy.
The “Gateway to Deep Space” could become a launching pad for Mars missions. Using a docking system similar to the one the International Space Station uses for commercial operations, it could accommodate a deep space transport vehicle that would take people to Mars. Once near Mars, crews can deploy the lander for ground missions or conduct other science and robotic missions in orbit.
Boeing Deep Space Gateway. Credit: Boeing
The vehicle will be equipped with space-hardened habitation modules and a solar electric propulsion (SEP) system based on the proven technology and design of Boeing’s Type 702 satellites.
The gateway and transport systems are partly being developed by NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Technologies (Next Step) program and ongoing High Power SEP technology development efforts within NASA’s Space Technology Directorate (STMD).
Banner image: Boeing Deep Space Transit Vehicle on Approach. Credit: Boeing