Have you seen ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’? Does the idea of deep space travel have you excited all over again? While the vast, vast majority of human beings will never get to go to outer space, we might just be closing in on the technology that opens the doors for future generations to make that leap. Recent reports from Thales Alenia Space has revealed that there is a partnership in place in order to help NASA develop a potential Deep Space Gateway. The goal of this partnership is to create the technology that humanity would need to truly go and explore the stars. Does this sound too good to be true? Sure, but does that mean it’s out of the question? Let’s leap into the science.
It was announced on December 14th that Thales Alenia Space would be partnering up with a trio of other companies in order to help fund the research and development of conceptual Deep Space Gateway travel. Among those partnerships, Thales is reportedly working with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Orbital ATK. There has been no release of financial disclosures regarding the contracts that these companies will be operating under, but suffice to say they should be pretty hearty.
Thales will be lending their knowledge in specific areas of study, such as environmental controls, thermal controls, and actual structures development. This information was gained in a release by Walter Cugno, the VP at Thales Alenia Space. While Thales will be incredibly active during the development of this science, they will largely be held to just studies and research while leaving hardware to the other partners involved.
The work that Thales will be undergoing begins by a look at the Cygnus spaceship. Thales will reportedly be looking at adapting this ship to be ready for deep space usage. Thales Alenia Space has already provided the special cargo module that the ship will need for space travel. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more information available in regards to Thales contributions to the research. Cugno did go on to say, “The work is expected to take place through 2018 and 2019.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing will be working off of their own concepts for ‘habitation modules’. It looks like the partnership will be a long one and there is no telling just how long this will all take until we have some sort of verifiable outcome. For now, we’ll just have to sit tight and hope for advancement in this incredibly exciting area.