Maxar Technologies and NASA recently completed a Delta System Requirements Review (DSRR) and Tailored System Definition Review (TSDR) for the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) for Gateway. Maxar’s PPE is the first element of the Gateway, providing power, maneuvering, attitude control and communications systems for the lunar orbiting outpost. Gateway is a foundational part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and enable future crewed missions to Mars. PPE is managed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Maxar is working on the program from its facilities in Palo Alto and San Jose, California.

While Maxar completed a full SRR for the PPE project in 2019, NASA introduced new requirements in 2020, including the integration of the PPE with Northrop Grumman’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) on the ground to launch both modules together. This change was directed by NASA to reduce the Gateway’s risk profile and increase its cost-effectiveness. The DSRR and TSDR review, which took place virtually, ensured that PPE’s development remains on track. It also allowed Maxar and NASA to confirm that the new program requirements could flow across all the other elements of Gateway.

In addition to successfully passing the recent reviews, one of Maxar’s key suppliers on the program, Deployable Space Systems, a small business in Goleta, California, received the delivery of an engineering development unit (EDU) for the Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) boom, the primary structural element of this unprecedently large solar array. The boom measures 9 inches in diameter and 59 feet long and provides the mechanism for the solar array to deploy in space. The solar array will provide 60 kilowatts of electrical power to the PPE bus, more than any other spacecraft, apart from the International Space Station! Maxar is receiving hardware deliveries from 50+ suppliers across the United States.

“We appreciate NASA’s confidence in our PPE solution, which will now be responsible for transporting the combined PPE-HALO spacecraft to lunar orbit, which will serve as the cornerstone of the Gateway,” said Vince Bilardo, Maxar’s Sr. Executive Program Director for NASA Programs.

NASA missions undergo multiple rigorous technical and programmatic reviews as they proceed through the phases of development prior to launch. The next step for PPE is a Preliminary Design Review, which is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2021. This review, which represents the third of six major mission milestones, will verify that Maxar’s PPE design meets mission requirements and is cleared for final design review and fabrication. NASA is planning to launch the combined PPE-HALO spacecraft aboard a commercial heavy lift rocket.

Concept art of Maxar’s Power and Propulsion Element which has successfully completed its Delta System Requirements Review. Image: NASA

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