• NASA removed the Gateway from its Moon mission plans
  • The agency believes the Lunar Gateway is an unnecessary risk
  • NASA will still launch the Gateway at a later date

An official from NASA confirmed that the proposed Lunar Gateway space station is no longer part of the agency’s plan to return humans to the Moon in 2024. According to the agency, the Gateway is not necessary for accomplishing the upcoming crewed lunar mission.

The Lunar Gateway is a proposed space station that will be deployed in lunar orbit under NASA’s Artemis spaceflight program. It is meant to serve as a jumping point for astronauts going to the Moon or deep space destinations such as Mars.

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.”

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% positively it will be there because we’ve changed that program to a much more what I would call solid, accomplishable schedule.”

Image: Artist Illustration of Gateway, NASA's lunar outpost that will serve as the temporary home and office for Moon mission astronauts. NASA