NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman $187 million to design the habitat module for the space agency's lunar Gateway, a planned moon-orbiting space station for astronauts.
We learned last year that NASA had tapped Virginia-based Northrop Grumman to build Gateway's pressurized crew cabin, called the habitation and logistics outpost (HALO). The company will base HALO on its Cygnus spacecraft, which has been flying contracted robotic cargo missions to the International Space Station for NASA since 2014.
On Friday (June 5), the space agency announced some terms of the deal: Northrop Grumman will receive $187 million to fund HALO's design through a key milestone called preliminary design review, which is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
"This contract award is another significant milestone in our plan to build robust and sustainable lunar operations," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. "The Gateway is a key component of NASA’s long-term Artemis architecture, and the HALO capability furthers our plans for human exploration at the moon in preparation for future human missions to Mars."
Orion will provide life support for astronauts aboard the Gateway, along with HALO, which will provide about as much living space as a small studio apartment.