WASHINGTON — The Canadian Space Agency — NASA’s first international partner to commit to the lunar Gateway — is considering a faster schedule for its contributions to keep pace with NASA’s accelerated plans.
In March, less than a month before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced the goal of landing humans on the moon by 2024, Canada pledged to spend 2 billion Canadian dollars ($1.4 billion) on the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway, a human-tended facility in orbit around the moon, as well as other space programs, spread out over 24 years.
Speaking May 22, Sylvain Laporte, president of the Canadian Space Agency, said Canada realized signing onto the lunar Gateway program so early would come with risks, but decided it sent the right signal about Canada’s dedication.
“It was a leap of faith,” Laporte said at a Space Transportation Association luncheon here. “We knew that we were heading down a new program, so don’t get me wrong — we didn’t do this blindly.”
Laporte said the Canadian Space Agency had numerous discussions with NASA before pledging its support for the lunar Gateway.
NASA’s previous plans called for a return to the moon by 2028. Laporte described ...