The Huntsville-based company, Dynetics, is teaming up with Maxar Technologies to help build part of the NASA Lunar Gateway. This is one of the first steps of NASA's Artemis mission to land astronauts back on the moon by 2024, before visiting Mars.
Maxar and Dynetics will work on the propulsion element for the Lunar Gateway. The agreement comes just before the historical anniversary of Apollo 11, something Lakiesha Hawkins, who works at the Marshall Space Flight Center, calls symbolic.
"It's absolutely fitting that this activity and the excitement of this partnership is so close to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11," Hawkins said.
Hawkins is working on the next major spacecraft, the Lunar Gateway. She says Apollo 11 helped companies come together and the city of Huntsville grow, and it's happening again.
"This partnership is an example of how we are growing today," Hawkins said.
Both Maxar and Dynetics have experience in space exploration and working together only helps enhance the production of the spacecraft. The Lunar Gateway will serve as a space station.
"We're going to build the first element of the Lunar Gateway. It will sit in lunar orbit and be a gateway for astronauts before they go down to the surface and then back up," Dynetics CEO David King explained.
Hawkins says this agreement brings us closer to returning to the moon.
"This is the first step in bridging the gap between Apollo 11, first man on the moon 50 years ago, to today, Artemis bringing the next man, first woman," Hawkins said.
WAAY 31 is told a majority of the work for this project will be done by Dynetics in Huntsville. The mission to launch this particular portion of the gateway is set for the end of 2022.