October 14, 2020 – Thales Alenia Space will develop two key modules for the upcoming Lunar Orbital Platform–Gateway (LOP-G): I-HAB (International Habitat) and the ESPRIT communications and refueling module. These two modules are the European contribution for this Gateway. The first tranche of I-HAB contract, (worth 36 million euros, the global amount being 327 million euros), has been signed with the European Space Agency (ESA), while ESPRIT development has already started under Authorization To Proceed (ATP) with a contract signature expected by the end of the year. This Gateway, a manned lunar orbital infrastructure, is one of the pillars of NASA’s Artemis program, designed to return humans to the Moon by 2024. It is being implemented through international cooperation, currently involving NASA (United States), ESA (Europe), JAXA (Japan) and CSA (Canada) with each partner in charge of the development of complementary elements, to be assembled and operated in lunar orbit as from 2024. The station, weighing about 40 metric tons, will be automatically assembled piece by piece in a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) around the Moon. The final configuration is still partly under final consolidation, but it will mainly comprise habitation modules for the crew offering as well docking capabilities for visiting vehicles and the Orion space capsule, logistics modules, communications with the Earth and Moon, EVA airlocks for scientific experiments and crew extravehicular activities (EVA), as well as a robotic arm. It is not intended for permanent occupancy, but will be able to host 4-person crews for periods of one to three months. Gaining new experiences on and around the Moon will prepare NASA to send the first humans to Mars in the coming years, and the Gateway will play a vital role in this process.