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Lockheed Recycles Shuttle Parts For Deep Space Station

Lockheed Martin artist rendering of the NextSTEP habitat docked with Orion in cislunar orbit as part of a concept for the Deep Space Gateway. Orion will serve as the habitat’s command deck in early missions, providing critical communications, life support and navigation to guide long-duration missions. Photo: Lockheed Martin

NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) habitat study contract.

The plan is to put a space station near the moon as a kind of cosmic rest-stop for deep space missions to places like Mars. It’s called the Deep Space Gateway and NASA asked Lockheed Martin to design a prototype at Kennedy Space Center.

Lockheed engineers are using the Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), an old space shuttle cargo container that was once used to send supplies to the International Space Station.

Using recycled parts will lower the cost of the prototype, and speed up development. “Making use of existing capabilities will be a guiding philosophy for Lockheed Martin to minimize development time and meet NASA’s affordability goals,” said Bill Pratt, Lockheed Martin NextSTEP program manager. The team will also use a mix of virtual and augmented reality to test the tech that will keep the astronauts safe.

The Deep Space Gateway will receive crews from NASA’s Orion spacecraft also in development with Lockheed Martin.

Work on the prototype will last about 18 months.


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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

As Producer for Intersection, Brendan Byrne is responsible for the production of WMFE’s weekly news and in-depth conversation show. When not working on Intersection, he covers news from the Space Coast. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to ... Read Full Bio »

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