Missing ingredient in deep space plan
An agreement in principle was signed between NASA and Roscosmos (the Russian Space agency) on Sept. 27, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. The two major space agencies made a commitment to cooperate within the framework of an international level to set up the Deep Space Gateway, standardize equipment and techniques, and act in the continuity of the current exchanges on the International Space Station. The Russians will bring their know-how in particular regarding interfaces of mooring and inhabited airlocks, and will study the possibility of using Russian launchers such as Proton and future Angara A5.
However, there was still no signing of an international agreement such as that of Jan. 29, 1998, for ISS. The real signal will be the allowance of budgets for construction of first elements of the DSG.
The European Space Agency, or ESA, invited members of the scientific community in Europe to propose ideas for the research that could be made aboard the DSG. ESA will indeed hold a workshop on this matter at the European Space Research and Technology Center in Noordwijk, Netherlands, in December 2017. More information is available here.
Philippe A. Mairet
AIAA senior member