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NASA and MBRSC announce Artemis Lunar Gateway Airlock

The agreement includes access to the lunar gateway station for UAE astronauts, boosting efforts to send the first Emirati to the Moon's orbit.
Photo Credits: NASA

NASA and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) have announced plans for the space centre to provide an airlock for Gateway, humanity’s first space station that will orbit the Moon. The lunar space station will support NASA’s missions for long-term exploration of the Moon under Artemis for the benefit of all.

Commenting on the deal, US Vice President Kamala Harris said: “As chair of the National Space Council, I have made it a priority to enhance international cooperation in space. Today’s announcement and partnership between the United States and the United Arab Emirates advances this important work. By combining our resources, scientific capacity, and technical skill, the US and UAE will further our collective vision for space and ensure it presents extraordinary opportunities for everyone here on Earth.”

Under a new implementing arrangement expanding their human spaceflight collaboration with NASA through Gateway, MBRSC will provide Gateway’s Crew and Science Airlock module, as well as a UAE astronaut to fly to the lunar space station on a future Artemis mission.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson added: The United States and the United Arab Emirates are marking a historic moment in our nations’ collaboration in space, and the future of human space exploration. We are in a new era of exploration through Artemis – strengthened by the peaceful and international exploration of space. The UAE’s provision of the airlock to Gateway will allow astronauts to conduct groundbreaking science in deep space and prepare to one day send humanity to Mars.”

In addition to operating the airlock, MBRSC also will provide engineering support for the life of the lunar space station. The airlock will allow crew and science research transfers to and from the habitable environment of Gateway’s pressurised crew modules to the vacuum of space. These transfers will support broader science in the deep space environment, as well as Gateway maintenance.

Gateway will support sustained exploration and research in deep space, and provide a home for astronauts to live and work, including a staging point for lunar surface missions, and an opportunity to conduct spacewalks while orbiting the Moon.

NASA’s Artemis programme is the most diverse and broad coalition of nations in human exploration in deep space. In collaboration with the CSA (Canadian Space Agency), ESA (European Space Agency), JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and now the MBRSC, NASA will return humans to the lunar surface for scientific discovery and chart a path for the first human missions to Mars.