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From Gateway to HALO

Using Design Principles, create a scaled version of the Lunar Gateway including the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module capable of hosting two astronauts.

Grade level

6 to 8

Text version of infographic entitled "The engineering design process"

The engineering design process

  • Problem or challenge
    • Define the problem
    • Identify the constraints on your solution (e.g. time, money, materials) and criteria for success
    • Brainstorm multiple solutions for the problem
    • Select the most promising solution
    • Prototype your solution
    • Test and evaluate your prototype
    • Iterate to improve your prototype
    • Communicate your solution

Infographic entitled "The engineering design process". (Credit: Canadian Space Agency [CSA])


The Lunar Gateway will orbit the Moon and serve as a stepping stone for future lunar exploration. Unlike the International Space Station (ISS) whose size is close to a football field, the Lunar Gateway will be much smaller, or about the size of two small school buses. Astronauts will have limited space while stationed at the HALO. They will need to perform experiments, command the Gateway, eat, rest, exercise, etc. while in an area no larger than one small bus. Their living quarters need to be designed while keeping efficiency and flow in mind. The HALO will have docking stations to receive visiting vehicles and the ability for future modules to be added to the Gateway, as needed, and will be powered by exterior solar panels.

Your challenge is to build a scale model of the Lunar Gateway. You may want to consider using a two-litre pop bottle or two, or an equivalent cylindrical shape or make your own cylinder using other materials. Your Lunar Gateway must contain at least four of its various components, including the HALO with a few designated areas inside the HALO for the astronauts, solar panels, the Power and Propulsion Element, and Canadarm3. You can take things further by adding more of the modules and components such as the I-Hab, D-Hab, Orion spacecraft, etc.

Learn about Canada's role in the Lunar Gateway!


Design and build a scale model of the Lunar Gateway.

Your scale model must include at least four components of the Lunar Gateway:

Suggested materials

Text version of infographic showing a few cardboard cutting and folding techniques

A few cardboard cutting and folding techniques

  • Flange
  • L-brace
  • Tabs
  • Slot + cut
  • Slot + tab
  • String

A few cardboard cutting and folding techniques. (Credit: CSA)


What is different between living on Earth and living in space? Depending on the mission objective, what do you need to have in your HALO in order to fulfill your job requirements and still maintain a work/life balance during your time in space? What do you need to live and work comfortably? What are some limitations and challenges that you will need to overcome? Given a limited area, how can you optimize the area you have to provide multi-functioning space? How will the lack of gravity in outer space have an effect on your design?

Different module dimensions details
Number Compartment/
(cm / cm² / cm³)
Ratio of the module
compared to your
Gateway model
Percentage Decimal
1 HALO - - - -
2 - - - - -
3 - - - - -
4 - - - - -
5 - - - - -
6 - - - - -
7 - - - - -
8 - - - - -

Overall dimensions of your Lunar Gateway replica:


What is your most promising solution that will fit all of these essentials into your plan? What materials do you have available which could affect the implementation of your design?

Model with solar panels, HALO, Canadarm3 and power and propulsion element

Design example of the Lunar Gateway and some of its components. Reference for students for potential ideas. (Credit: CSA)


  1. Sketch out your main design idea, to scale, on paper or graph paper.
  2. Gather a variety of recyclables to use as construction materials. Please take a look at the suggested cardboard connections to help bring your ideas to life and learn some new cardboard prototyping skills.
  3. Based on the prioritized ratio that you have identified in the chart, build the main structure of your HALO module and create areas for each of your compartments. Use cardboard attachments like slots, tabs, flanges and brackets to connect compartments and the other modules.
  4. Add details to each compartment that will identify its purpose: bed, toilet, charging station, laboratory equipment, etc.
  5. Label those detailed parts of your model for easy identification.


How is your design conducive to a good work/life balance for the astronaut(s)? What can you do to ensure that two astronauts can move around the HALO safely? How will you ensure there are areas for expansion for future modules to be added to the Lunar Gateway?


Sometimes things don't always go as planned, especially in outer space. Choose one of the situations below and make the necessary modifications to your Lunar Gateway or HALO module design to meet that challenge.


Taking it further

Curriculum links

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