NASA To Test Lunar Gateway’s Power And Propulsion Element In 2020 Written 25 September 2018

Space News reports that NASA hopes to launch the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) of the agency’s planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway in 2022, “most likely from Cape Canaveral.” The payload will be sent into cislunar space. The component’s “boxy shape and folded-up solar arrays will make it resemble many of the commercial communications satellites launched from the Cape and elsewhere.” The PPE’s similarity to commercial GEO satellites “is deliberate,” and NASA “expects that companies will propose designs based on satellite buses they already build,” augmented by advanced electric propulsion systems to be developed by NASA. The agency hopes that as a result, the spacecraft will be “less expensive and faster to build than a custom design.” NASA plans to award a final contract for PPE development in spring 2019. The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK [now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems], Sierra Nevada, and Space Systems Loral are currently researching “technical issues associated with the PPE design.”
More Info (Space News)