1:100 scale Lunar Gateway model

NASA’s return to the Moon via the Artemis program is expected to require a small space station in a highly-elliptical orbit around the Moon.

Called the Lunar Gateway, it’s designed to be a sort of weigh station in cislunar space where a human-rated Moon lander could be assembled and checked out. Astronauts in an Orion spacecraft would then dock to the outpost and transfer to the lander for the surface mission.

While NASA and its partners are still finalizing the designs for this deep space outpost, you can build your own 1:100 scale paper model with this possible concept based on information known as of summer 2019.

Once operational, the Lunar Gateway won't be continually occupied like the International Space Station, but it is expected to host a number of science investigations and be used as a test bed for technologies needed for future human missions to Mars while supporting yearly human lunar sorties beginning in 2024.

Its “phase one” configuration requires a Power and Propulsion Element — to be built by Maxar Technologies — and a crew compartment that doubles as a docking node called the Habitation and Logistics Outpost — expected to be built by Northrop Grumman and be based on the Cygnus spacecraft.

The Power and Propulsion element is slated to launch atop a commercial rocket by 2022, while the Habitation and Logistics Outpost is expected to launch no later than late 2023.

These two pieces pieces need to be in a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon by early 2024 if NASA is to successfully meet the U.S. vice president's challenge of returning humans to the lunar surface by the end of that year.

Once the phase one Lunar Gateway is assembled, then a human-rated Moon lander will need to be launched, likely in pieces, to be assembled at the outpost to be ready when the crew of Artemis 3 arrives.


If you would like to have your own 1:100 scale paper model of the phase one Lunar Gateway, subscribe to The Space Capsule monthly newsletter. You’ll get a link to the model in your welcome email in addition to a monthly snapshot of ongoing International Space Station activities and the progress of NASA’s Artemis program.

What you’ll need for your model

  • Cardstock: Preferably 100-pound, but 90- or 110-pound should work just as well.

  • Craft knife

  • Tweezers

  • Q-Tips: Alternatively, a thin rod or paper clips — to be used to connect solar panels to spacecraft bodies.

  • Glue: Elmer’s, Aleene’s Tacky Glue or similar

  • Magnets (optional): You can find an example of the type recommended here. However, any similarly-shaped rare Earth magnets will suffice.

  • Poster board (optional): For the base of the stand.

  • Time

  • Patience

Lunar Gateway

Reference photos

A detailed instruction manual for the 1:100 scale Lunar Gateway paper model has not yet been completed. Once the instructions are finished, you’ll get an update email. Alternatively, you can check back here it will be included.

For now, below are a variety of photos of each module from multiple angles. Additionally, some of the more complicated parts also have images for reference. If you have any questions or feedback email community@orbital-velocity.com.