An official from NASA confirmed that the Lunar Gateway will no longer be part of the upcoming human mission to the Moon in 2024. The agency decided to drop the proposed space station from its lunar plans as it was not necessary for the mission.
NASA introduced the Lunar Gateway as an integral component for its new spaceflight program known as Artemis. As a massive space station that will operate in lunar orbit, the Gateway will serve as a jumping point for missions to the Moon and other cosmic destinations such as Mars.
Dropping Gateway From Moon 2024 Mission
Unfortunately, an official from NASA recently revealed that the agency had removed the Lunar Gateway from its plans for the upcoming Moon 2024 mission. The decision was made in order to streamline the details of the mission by removing unnecessary stages. According to Doug Loverro, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations, the Lunar Gateway adds an unnecessary risk to the mission that NASA doesn't need to tackle right now. Also, the agency noted that the upcoming human mission to the Moon could be completed without the Lunar Gateway.
"What are we going to do to go ahead and make that happen?" he said according to SpaceNews. "And the answer is you've got to go ahead and remove all the things that add to program risk along the way. If it's not mandatory, it's not necessary."
Future Plans For Lunar Gateway
Although the space station is no longer part of the mission to the Moon, Loverro noted that this does not mean that NASA has already discarded the project. With the Gateway no longer part of the upcoming mission, NASA can now focus on improving various aspects of the station. According to Loverro, NASA is no longer confined to finishing the project within a tight schedule. Instead, the agency now has more time to ensure that all aspects of the Lunar Gateway will be completed properly.
"By taking Gateway out of the critical path for the lunar landing in '24, I believe what we have done is create a far better Gateway program," he explained. "We can now tell them 100 percent positively it will be there because we've changed that program to a much more what I would call solid, accomplishable schedule."