NASA selects Maxar for lunar Gateway

WESTMINSTER — NASA has selected Maxar Technologies Inc. (NYSE:MAXR), to build and perform a spaceflight demonstration of what is being called the lunar Gateway.

Maxar is a global aerospace company based in Westminster and with operations in Longmont. The contract award from NASA permits Maxar to design, build and operate a spacecraft that will orbit the moon, and ultimately be a stepping stone to manned missions to Mars.

The power and propulsion element of Gateway is a key component to NASA’s overall plans to land American astronauts on the surface of the moon by 2024, Maxar said in an announcement. The project will be the first segment of the Gateway tested in space.

Maxar previously conducted a four-month study to develop affordable and innovative electric-propulsion-enabled concepts for the power and propulsion element spacecraft. Building on the completion of the study, Maxar has been selected to proceed with development. The power and propulsion element will provide power, maneuvering, attitude control, communications systems and initial docking capabilities. Maxar is targeting launch of the element on a commercial rocket by late 2022, the company said.

“Maxar Space Solutions is proud to play a critical role in enabling American astronauts to build a sustainable presence on the moon. Our power and propulsion element partnership enables NASA to leverage Maxar’s commercial capabilities to cost-effectively expedite plans for sustainable exploration of the moon, while also providing significant benefits to American industry,” said Dan Jablonsky, Maxar CEO. “As a valuable part of Maxar, our Space Solutions group serves the global commercial and U.S. government satellite market.”

The NASA contract carries a maximum total value of $375 million. After a successful demonstration period of up to one year, NASA could acquire the spacecraft for use as the first element of the Gateway.

“The Gateway will give us a strategic presence on and around the moon. It will drive our activity with commercial and international partners and help us explore the entire lunar surface and its resources,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington. “We will ultimately translate that experience toward human missions to Mars.”

Maxar’s power and propulsion element design is based on the company’s 1300-class platform, which is in use by 91 spacecraft in orbit for commercial operators.The 1300-class spacecraft platform is also the basis for NASA’s Psyche mission, which will explore an all-metal asteroid beyond Mars in 2026, and NASA’s Restore-L spacecraft, which will refuel the Landsat-7 satellite in 2022.

A key element of Maxar’s power and propulsion element design is what it calls the roll-out solar array, which rolls up instead of folding like an accordion.

Maxar has merged the operations of DigitalGlobe, SSL (Space Systems Loral) and Radiant Solutions into the Maxar brand.

WESTMINSTER — NASA has selected Maxar Technologies Inc. (NYSE:MAXR), to build and perform a spaceflight demonstration of what is being called the lunar Gateway.

Maxar is a global aerospace company based in Westminster and with operations in Longmont. The contract award from NASA permits Maxar to design, build and operate a spacecraft that will orbit the moon, and ultimately be a stepping stone to manned missions to Mars.

The power and propulsion element of Gateway is a key component to NASA’s overall plans to land American astronauts on the surface of the moon by 2024, Maxar said in an announcement. The project will be the first segment of the Gateway tested in space.

Maxar previously conducted a four-month study to develop affordable and innovative electric-propulsion-enabled concepts for the power and propulsion element spacecraft. Building on the completion of the study, Maxar has been selected to proceed with development. The power and propulsion element will provide power, maneuvering, attitude control, communications systems and initial docking capabilities. Maxar is targeting launch of the element on a commercial rocket by late 2022, the company said.

“Maxar Space Solutions is proud to play a critical role in enabling American astronauts to build a sustainable presence on the moon. Our power and propulsion element partnership enables NASA to leverage Maxar’s commercial capabilities to cost-effectively expedite plans for sustainable exploration of the moon, while also providing significant benefits to American industry,” said Dan Jablonsky, Maxar CEO. “As a valuable part of Maxar, our Space Solutions group serves…