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Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:44 PM

More information on the Exploration Gateway at Earth-Moon L2


A glimpse at a gateway
by Jeff Foust
Monday, November 12, 2012


On Saturday, however, a NASA official provided a glimpse about what the agency was currently studying. Speaking at SpaceVision 2012, the annual conference of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) in Buffalo, New York, Harold White, Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead at the Johnson Space Center, discussed the current state of NASA’s studies of what it calls the Gateway Exploration Architecture. White, better known in some circles for his work on advanced propulsion physics (see “Building a starship’s foundation”, The Space Review, September 24, 2012), is the propulsion lead on the architecture study.


The architecture starts in 2019 with the launch of the core spacecraft—a generic service module plus a docking node similar to those on the US segment of the International Space Station—on a Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket to the Earth-Moon L2 point. “Then we would have a cadence of missions, about once every year,” White said, “increasing the mission duration and, in some cases, also increasing the capability of the platform by bringing up additional modules.”

The initial crewed mission would fly to the platform at L2 on an Orion spacecraft launched by an SLS. That mission would last about 30 days, in order to gain experience on operations there. Before departing, the platform would transfer from the L2 to the L1 point on the other side of the Moon. After the crew left, the station would then move into a “near rectilinear orbit”, a stretched version of the halo orbits used to stationkeep around Lagrange points that, in this case, gives long dwell times over the lunar poles.


The current architecture features what White called a “decision tollgate” in 2022: in effect, a fork in the road with two options. In one approach, the platform moves to low lunar orbit, where it could later support human missions to the lunar surface. ... <snip> ...

In the other option, the platform would move out into deep space, perhaps out to the Earth-Sun L2 point, about 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth, ... <snip> ...


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Reply More information on the Exploration Gateway at Earth-Moon L2 (Original post)
bananas Nov 2012 OP
bananas Nov 2012 #1

Response to bananas (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:54 PM

1. For Obama’s Second Term, NASA Revives a Plan from Clinton’s Second Term


For Obama’s Second Term, NASA Revives a Plan from Clinton’s Second Term

By David S. F. PortreeEmail Author
November 9, 2012 | 12:07 am |


NASA’s interest in the L point outpost concept is not new. In 1999-2000, Earth-moon and Earth-Sun L points became the darlings of the Decadal Planning Team (DPT), a NASA-wide group funded by President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget. The DPT seems to have been set up to develop plans that could take effect under President Al Gore.

The DPT advocated an outpost at Earth-moon L1, located between Earth and the moon. Astronauts at the outpost would have serviced giant space telescopes and visited the lunar surface (robotics technology was less advanced than it is today, so the DPT barely mentioned teleoperations in its plan).

Apart from its lunar objective, however, the DPT’s philosophy was anathema to space planners eager for a reprise of NASA’s Apollo glory days. Progress would have occurred on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, with no high-profile proclamation akin to President John F. Kennedy’s May 1961 “moon speech.” Development would have been slow and steady, with no sharp increases in NASA’s budget to draw fire from spaceflight opponents.

The DPT’s plans survived more or less intact until 2005, when President George W. Bush appointed Mike Griffin as NASA Administrator. Griffin and his lieutenants rejected the DPT approach in favor of a costly new large rocket and “Apollo on steroids.” Bush did not, however, adequately fund Griffin’s program, so NASA had little to show for it by the time President Barack Obama won the White House in 2008.


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