The Lunar Gateway is a small, human-tended space station orbiting the Moon that will provide extensive capabilities to support Artemis campaign. Built with the international partnerships of ESA with NASA, CSA and JAXA, Gateway’s capabilities for supporting sustained exploration and research in deep space include docking ports for a variety of visiting spacecraft, space for crew to live and work, and on-board science investigations to study heliophysics, human health, and life sciences, among other areas. Gateway will be a critical platform for developing technology and capabilities to support Moon and Mars exploration in the coming years.
ESA main contributions to the lunar gateway are the International Habitation Module (I-HAB) and the European System Providing Refuelling Infrastructure and Telecommunications (ESPRIT).
I-HAB is a habitation module capable to accommodate up to four crew members for one month duration that is designed to be fully thermally independent: i-HAB Thermal Control System is based on two internal mechanical pumped loops that collect the internally generated heat coupled with two external loops that are used to transport the heat to a set of two deployable and orientable radiators wings; the internal loops have dedicated derivations that allow the thermal connection and a bi-directional heat load sharing with the adjacent modules. The overall I-HAB TCS is design to manage up to 10kW of heat dissipation.
ESPRIT is actually composed by two different elements: the HALO Lunar Communication System (HLCS) mounted outside the NASA provided habitation module HALO, providing commutation capability with the moon surface in two different bands and the European Refuelling Module (ERM), providing refuelling capabilities through additional xenon and hydrazine capacity for use in the PPE’s (Power and Propulsion Element) ion engines as well as an internal habitation area with observation windows.
HLCS thermal control is purely passive, based on OSR covered axial grooved heat pipes radiators, but needs to face quite unique environment, with high radiations and possible contamination derived from the lunar dust taken in orbit by the landers that are supposed to docked on the Gateway after being landed on the Moon surface.
ERM thermal control is also mainly based on passive means, but also include a thermal compressor, used to transfer Xenon from the internal tanks to the PPE, that requires a dedicated mechanical pumped loop to provide the high temperature fluctuations (from -120dC to + 150dC) needed to achieve the requested performances.
The presentation will give a high-level overview over the ESA contributions to the Lunar Gateway, with particular focus on the thermal control system and the unique challenges that this mission request.