To provide transportation of cargo services to the lunar Gateway, NASA has issued a formal proposal inviting applications and offering around $7 billion to service providers that will support operations of the facility that has humans on board. The procedure for request for proposal at Gateway Logistics Services is quite similar to earlier draft version issued in June. All service providers have to submit proposals by Oct 1 and agency will award contracts before end of this year. The firms which accept the contract have to deliver around 3400 kg worth of pressurized cargo along with 1000 kilograms of unpressurized cargo to lunar gateway in every mission.
These firms will also have to safely dispose almost the same quantity of both pressurized and unpressurized cargo that is delivered to the destination. There has been a slight change in both RFP’s as while the draft one had asked for cargo vehicles to be designed in such a way that they will stay attached to Gateway for 3 years the final one asks them to be designed for only one year stay. The final RFP also notes that nominal duration for docking of cargo vehicles should be six months.
Fixed price contracts along with milestone based payment schedules similar to cargo transportation services from International Space Station will be used by the program. The RFP has specified that around 75 percent of the payment will be given for each mission to service providers before the launch. This RFP system is NASA’s newest method for use of commercial partners for the development of lunar gateway. During May this year the agency gave contract worth $375 million to MAXAR for development of the gateway’s first module called Power and Propulsion Element which will be owned by the Maxar and NASA will be able to purchase it from the firm for use on Gateway.