Dynetics and Maxar Technologies team up to do crucial work for Gateway

Published: Jul. 9, 2019 at 6:22 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Two heavy hitters in space technology are working to help put man back on the moon-and then on to Mars.

Huntsville-based Dynetics and Maxar Technologies have united to work on critical components of Lunar Gateway.

The companies are building the power and propulsion element for Gateway, which will enable NASA astronauts to land on the Moon by 2024.

“This is the first element of Lunar Gateway. This will sit in lunar orbit. It will be a gateway for astronauts to go visit before going down to the surface and back up. This will allow us to learn how live in that type of environment for longer periods of time in preparation to go to Mars down the road,” explained Dynetics CEO David King.

Maxar and Dynetics will build, fly and demonstrate the power and propulsion element spacecraft for NASA.

The first element of the lunar Gateway to launch to space, it will provide power, propulsion and communication capabilities for the lunar orbiting command module.

The Gateway will support human missions to the surface of the Moon by 2024 and ultimately enable future crewed missions to Mars.

Maxar was selected by NASA as the prime contractor for the Power and Propulsion Element in May 2019. Dynetics joins Blue Origin and Draper on the Maxar-led team.

Dynetics and Maxar signed the Teaming Agreement on Tuesday at the Dynetics Solutions Complex in Cummings Resarch Park, officially initiating the partnership.

Lakiesha Hawkins, Deputy Manager of Gateway Habitation Element at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said it is the first step in bridging the gap between Apollo 11 and the first man on the moon 50 years ago to today, with Artemis landing the next man or first woman on the moon.

“This is an exciting day for all those who are supporting Gateway because this is the first foundational element of the Gateway. As the power propulsion element is successful and the work that’s being centered here in Huntsville makes its way to success, so goes the rest of Gateway and therefore, the Artemis 2024 program will be successful,” she stated.

Many people have been working on the project for years, and have laid the groundwork and architecture for the mission and what elements are needed to get there. Now they are starting to move into execution.

“This partnership marks one of the beginning elements of us moving from planning to doing,” Hawkins said.

She felt it was fitting that the partnership was announced so close to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

“It’s an example of how we are growing today as a city to support NASA’s mission and all the technology that’s going on here in Huntsville,” she added.

Dynetics will support Maxar in areas such as propulsion systems, mechanical and propulsion testing, system integration and assembly, and mission operations.

“Maxar has built a lot of spacecraft for a long time. This is another spacecraft. We have some technologies and some capabilities in propulsion and other things that will help them tremendously,” King said. “We’re building hardware that flies in space and eventually will house people and allow man and woman to go back to the moon.”

The power and propulsion element will provide power, maneuvering, communications systems and initial docking capabilities. Maxar is currently targeting launch of the element on a commercial rocket by late 2022.

“This program will take us back to lunar orbit, and then to the lunar surface, learn how to live there longer periods of time and just be able to prepare for that longer trip to Mars and home," King stated.

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