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Westminster company aims to get astronauts back to the moon

Posted: 10:25 PM, Jun 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-25 18:39:54-04
Maxar technology

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Maxar Technologies out of Westminster has been awarded a contract that maxes out at $375 million from NASA to build the gateway space station that will take American astronauts back to the moon.

“We are building space infrastructure, not just a one-and-done kind of moonshot, but actual infrastructure that will build a sustainable platform for lunar exploration as well as deep space exploration and beyond that,” said Dan Jablonsky with Maxar Technologies.

It's been 47 years since astronauts have landed on the moon.

The key to Maxar winning the contract is their groundbreaking solar array system. It has three times the power of current systems, giving the spacecraft the ability to stop, start and change directions efficiently.

“The power propulsion element... is the very first element that will go up there that is designed to provide propulsion as well as power and communications capabilities for the missions,” Jablonsky said.

Once the gateway is in orbit around the moon, modules will be attached in the second phase, providing room for human habitat for long-term missions. A lander will be used to shuttle astronauts from the Gateway to the lunar surface.

"This is now building sustainable infrastructure for industry, for human interaction starting at the moon and then further deep space after that,” Jablonsky said.

The gateway launch date is 2022 with the goal of getting astronauts back on the moon in 2024.

Maxar will own and operate Gateway. Once it proves successful, NASA will take over.

“This is a great win for a Colorado company,” Jablonsky said.