Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure company Maxar Technologies announced that the 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.
Passing PDR-1 means that Maxar expects to finalize the PPE system-level design over the next year, culminating in the Critical Design Review in May 2022. A second PDR this fall will verify that the evolved PPE design meets mission requirements and is cleared for final design review and fabrication. During this period, Maxar will continue to take delivery of flight hardware units based on the company’s 1300-class spacecraft platform.
Maxar’s PPE is the foundational element of the Gateway, providing power, maneuvering, attitude control and communications systems for the lunar orbiting outpost. Gateway is a cornerstone of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon and enable future crewed missions to Mars. PPE is managed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2020, NASA introduced new requirements, including the integration of the PPE with Northrop Grumman’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) on the ground to enable launch of both modules together on a single SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle. This change reduced Gateway’s risk profile and increased its cost effectiveness, necessitating the need for a second PDR that reflects the evolved program design.
Maxar’s 1300-class spacecraft are currently supporting the following NASA missions: PPE, a power solar electric propulsion spacecraft; Psyche, a deep space mission to a metal-rich asteroid; OSAM-1, an on-orbit assembly, manufacturing and refueling demonstration; TEMPO, a climate sensor hosted on a commercial communications satellite. “Clearing this development milestone for PPE is a significant accomplishment,” said 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.”