NASA and ESA have formally established a partnership agreement to jointly promote the Artemis deep space gateway program. The agreement signed on Tuesday is part of a U.S. effort to attract international cooperation for its lunar exploration program.
NASA plans to build a deep space portal space station in lunar orbit in 2024, which will become the rendezvous point of lunar landing and deep space missions, and prepare for the first manned Mars mission. The deep space portal space station is one sixth the size of the international space station, and related modules will be assembled in a near-line halo orbit, which does not revolve around the earth or the moon, but one of the Lagrange points to balance the earth and the moon.
According to the cooperation agreement signed by both sides, ESA will provide residential and refueling modules and enhance lunar communication. The refueling module will be equipped with windows to facilitate crew viewing outdoors, while ESA will handle the operation of its module. In addition, ESA is building two more European service modules (ESMS) for the Orion spacecraft, including propulsion, power, air and water systems for the crew compartment.
The space station will also be open to partners and private companies undertaking lunar missions. It will also be used to test the technology of manned Mars missions and demonstrate the remote management and long-term reliability of autonomous systems.