Boeing has developed and started testing aÂ prototype of NASAâ€™s proposed space station that would orbit the moon and support future missions to bring humans to the lunar surface and deep space.Â
The company said Monday it designed the Gateway Demonstrator based on International Space Station modules, which were also developed by the aerospace company.Â
NASA is testing the prototype facility, which includes a habitation module and an airlock module, at its Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Once deployed, the Gateway will serve as a reusable exploration hub orbiting the moon and will provide a technology test bed and a research base for government and private organizations.
The facility will also support deployment of crewed and robotic missions on the moonâ€™s surface andÂ to Mars.
â€œOur Gateway engineering is well beyond systems requirements review maturity and leverages the flight-proven structural design heritage of ISS,â€ said Mark Ortiz, program manager ofÂ the Gateway Demonstrator at Boeing.
The company is among the six contractors tasked by NASA to design and build the ground-based Gateway prototypes.Â