Gateway’s HALO Module Nearing Launch After Successful Welding in Italy – NASA’s Lunar Space Station Prepares for Liftoff in 2025

Technicians at a Thales Alenia Space industrial plant in Turin, Italy, have made significant progress on NASA’s Gateway space station, bringing the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module closer to launch. The HALO module, one of four modules designed for astronauts to live in, conduct scientific research, and prepare for lunar surface missions, recently completed welding in Italy. This marks a significant step towards the eventual launch of the Gateway space station, which is currently scheduled for no earlier than 2025.

Upon completion, the Gateway space station will orbit the moon in a highly elliptical path, coming within approximately 1,865 miles of the lunar surface at its closest approach before traveling out to a distance of 43,500 miles. This unique orbit, as outlined by the European Space Agency, will allow the station to serve as a crucial outpost for future space exploration missions. Compared to the International Space Station, Gateway is about one-sixth of its size, showcasing advancements in space technology.

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales Group and Leonardo, has played a key role in guiding the HALO module through stress tests to ensure its safety. Next, the module will travel to Gilbert, Arizona, where Northrop Grumman will oversee final outfitting before launch into lunar orbit alongside the Power and Propulsion Element. The collaborative efforts of various space agencies and corporations, including the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, highlight the international cooperation involved in space exploration endeavors.

In March, Dr. Jon B. Olansen took over as the director of the Gateway program, succeeding Dan Hartman. Olansen’s leadership comes at a crucial time as plans for human missions to the moon under the Artemis program continue to progress. Scheduled for no sooner than 2026, these missions represent a significant milestone in NASA’s efforts to return astronauts to the lunar surface. As preparations for the Gateway space station advance, the global space community looks forward to the innovative discoveries and accomplishments that lie ahead in space exploration.