WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA released the final version of the Power and Propulsion Element Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Lunar Gateway on Sept 6.
NASA is seeking a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed. It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications.
Reflecting much of the feedback from an Industry Day NASA hosted July 10, and several follow-on communications with potential offerors, NASA has made a number of updates to the final solicitation. These updates clarify content and context, encourage industry innovation and creativity, enhance the public-private partnership, and align the approach for NASA requirements more closely with industry practices.
The Power and Propulsion Element BAA outlines NASA’s objectives for the development, build and flight demonstration of the envisioned spacecraft. NASA is targeting one or more contract awards in the March 2019 time frame to support a launch of the power and propulsion element in 2022 on a partner-provided commercial rocket followed by a demonstration of up to one-year duration.
After successful completion, NASA intends to have the option to acquire the spacecraft for use as the first Gateway element.
“We believe partnering with U.S. industry for the power and propulsion element will stimulate advancements in commercial use of solar electric propulsion and also serve NASA exploration objectives,” said Michele Gates, director, Power and Propulsion Element at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Our goal here is to gain input from industry on the draft solicitation to enable release of the final later this summer.”
NASA is returning to the Moon with commercial and international partners as part of an overall agency Exploration Campaign in support of Space Policy Directive 1.
“Since the directive was issued in December to return to the Moon, the agency has been moving full-steam ahead with plans for robotic and human lunar exploration,” said Jason Crusan, director, Advanced Exploration Systems, at NASA Headquarters. “It’s an exciting time to be at NASA, and we look forward to partnering with U.S. industry and international partners as we lead the return to the Moon, and go beyond.”