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Maxar’s Lunar Gateway PPE Passes First Design Review; Chris Johnson Quoted

2 mins read
Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

Maxar Technologies announced on Monday that the company's Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) it is developing for NASA’s Lunar Gateway has passed its first Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and remains on track for launch in 2024.

“Clearing this development milestone for PPE is a significant accomplishment,” commented Chris Johnson, Maxar’s senior vice president of Space Program Delivery.

“PPE is one of several NASA programs built on Maxar’s trusted 1300-class spacecraft platform, which leverages decades of our commercial design, manufacturing and operations expertise. At Maxar, our team is agile, and our spacecraft are versatile. The progress we have made on PPE is further evidence that we are prepared to meet a broad range of civil, commercial and national security mission needs,” added Johnson. 

Maxar’s PPE passing PDR-1 means the company plans to finalize the PPE system-level design over the next year, culminating in the Critical Design Review in May 2022. The next review, which will occur during the Fall, will verify that the evolved PPE design meets mission requirements and is cleared for final design review and fabrication. 

During the review period, Maxar will continue to take deliveries of flight hardware units based on the company’s 1300-class spacecraft platform.

The PPE is the foundational element of the Lunar Gateway as it provides power, maneuvering, attitude control and communications systems for the lunar orbiting outpost. The Gateway itself is the cornerstone of NASA’s Artemis program, which intends to land the first woman and person of color on the Moon and support future Mars missions. 

NASA introduced new requirements in 2020, including integrating the PPE with Northrop Grumman’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) on the ground to facilitate the launch of both modules together on a single SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.

The new requirements reduced Gateway’s risk profile and increased its cost-effectiveness, necessitating the need for a second PDR that reflects the evolved program design.