The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revealed the new logo identifying the highly anticipated lunar Gateway, which is decked out with details representing the space agency’s historic missions with moon landings and the Gateway’s role in order to forge new momentous victories for NASA.
The Lunar Gateway is intended to be a way station between the Earth and the Moon, but also to the deeper parts of the solar system and beyond.
Like the ISS, the Gateway will be orbiting the moon and will consist of multiple modules serving specific purposes, all docked together into a space station that will serve as a staging area for both crewed and robotic missions. The Gateway will also be a collaborative station, with corporations and agencies from multiple nations contributing hardware
Notably, NASA is intent on staying on track of the construction of the Gateway because it will be a vital step towards NASA’s 2024 mission Artemis, which aims to send humans back to space.
The agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston revealed the Gateway program logo in an update to its employee online newsletter, which was seen on Tuesday, September 17.
“It is a bold look closely aligned with the Artemis brand. The logo symbolizes NASA’s efforts to go forward to the moon and on to Mars,” wrote Deepthi Cauligi, a communications strategist, for Johnson Space Center’s Roundup Reads.
The new logo represents the Gateway’s near rectilinear halo orbit above the grey horizon of the moon with a white arch similar in appearance to the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. From within the arch, a path extends out to a red orb.
“The red pathway inside the arch signifies Gateway’s role in forging a path from the moon to Mars,” described Cauligi, “with the moon as a testbed for Mars and providing an opportunity to demonstrate new technologies necessary for crewed Mars missions. The other end of the pathway shows Mars in red, remaining a horizon goal.”
NASA this month also announced that they are offering a $13 million contract to Advanced Space Technologies in order to demonstrate the unique orbit that the space agency plans for the Gateway to use. The project intends to provide scientists data regarding how to enter into and operate in this orbit as well as test a new navigation capability. This information will help reduce “logistical uncertainty,” as NASA pointed out.
Six white stars dotting the logo’s dark blue background symbolize the six Apollo missions that were the first to land humans on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972, which is a pivotal backdrop behind NASA’s ambitious plan of being able to perform the said mission again.
The oval-shaped emblem is completed with the word “Gateway” stylized in white, except for the first “A,” which is highlighted in red, signifying the Gateway’s role in the Artemis program.
“Through the Artemis program, a new class of American moonwalkers will inspire people all over the world,” Cauligi wrote.
The Gateway logo was revealed in conjunction with a new internal website, which will house all information related to Gateway and Gateway components for NASA employees.
NASA previously solicited for a graphic to represent its Gateway program to “be used in multiple ways internally at NASA, but will have the limited external/public use, if any.” The contest, run on the Freelancer website from November 26 to December 10, 2018, received more than 500 entries. A winning design was chosen, but it did not resemble the logo now in use.
The logo release, however, comes at a time when the Gateway’s path to fruition is highly criticized especially regarding questions about whether or not it can be completed on time.
In relation, Kenneth Bowersox, the acting associate administrator for human exploration and operations, told a Congressional subcommittee that NASA is doing its best to meet the White House-imposed deadline. But he noted: “I wouldn’t bet my oldest child’s upcoming birthday present or anything like that.”
Some NASA officials, on the other hand, told a September 11 conference that development for the Gateway is moving ahead as planned despite initial concerns regarding the expedited timeline.
Nonetheless, Bowersox reassured that NASA will try to complete the construction on time as much as possible and when they do, it will be a success.
“What’s important is that we launch when we’re ready, that we have a successful mission when it launches, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you that just arbitrarily we’re going to make it,” he said in response to questioning by U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida. “There’s a lot of risk in making the date, but we want to try to do it.”