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NASA chief expects Russia to share its proposals on Gateway moon orbiter

US is working to design Deep Space Gateway docking hatches, compatible with Russia’s prospective Orel spacecraft

WASHINGTON, October 14. /TASS/. The United States views Russia as a valuable space partner and expects it to share its proposals regarding the Deep Space Gateway project to create a moon orbiter, NASA chief James Bridenstine said on Tuesday.

"We would welcome to the opportunity to receive what Russia might be willing to contribute to the program, and certainly invite them to share with us what their thoughts are because we do value them as a partner and we hope they value us as a partner, as has been perfectly exemplified now for 20 years on the International Space Station," he said, answering to a question from TASS at a briefing for foreign journalists.

He also said that the United States was working to design Deep Space Gateway docking hatches, compatible with Russia’s prospective Orel spacecraft.

"Yesterday when we had our plenary with the heads of space agencies, Dmitry Rogozin mentioned he wants to make sure he has - when he has a Russian capsule that’s going to the Moon, he wants to make sure that it can dock with the Gateway. And I’m here to tell you that we are taking what we have learned from the International Space Station, and we are creating those docking standards.

In his words, the United States was also working on issues that go beyond "just docking standards."

"We want to create international standards for a whole host of human space flight capabilities to include the way we do data, to include the way we do communications and navigation and avionics and environmental control systems and life support systems. We want to make sure that as countries come on board with the Artemis program that the standards are open and available to everybody so that they can very easily on-ramp," the US space official added.

State Space Corporation Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said on October 12 that Russia would skip large-scale participation in the US Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (formerly, Deep Space Gateway) project of creating a lunar orbiter. In its current form, the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway project is mostly needed to address US tasks, Rogozin said.

The United States proposed the concept of the Deep Space Gateway (currently, Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway) as a transfer facility for missions to the Earth’s natural satellite and for deep space flights. In the spring of 2019, NASA also announced the Artemis project of developing a sustainable human presence on the Moon.

The Roscosmos chief earlier said in an interview with TASS that the Russian space agency was ready to participate in the international Lunar Orbital Gateway project only on an equal footing with NASA. Roscosmos also views the effort of creating a lunar orbital station on its own as quite a complex task, considering limited funding of space programs, he said.