The U.S. won't be launching the Gateway alone.
In November, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine asked Canada to join the United States' Lunar Gateway, an outpost it hopes to have orbiting the Moon by 2024.
“We can’t achieve what we want to achieve in space if any of us goes alone," he said during a Canadian aerospace conference. "We want you [Canada] involved in our return to the Moon in a big way."
It took three months, but Canada is now ready to commit to the program — and to space exploration more broadly.
Team of Two
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would join the Lunar Gateway — committing more than $150 million Canadian dollars toward the program over the next five years.
"NASA is thrilled that Canada is the first international partner for the Gateway lunar outpost," Bridenstine said in a press release following Trudeau's announcement. "Space exploration is in Canada’s DNA... Our new collaboration on Gateway will enable our broader international partnership to get to the Moon and eventually to Mars."
The Lunar Gateway is just one part of Canada's future space plans — in total, Trudeau said the nation will invest more than $2 billion Canadian dollars in its space program over the next 24 years.
"Canada's historic investment will create good jobs for Canadians, keep our astronaut program running and our aerospace industry strong and growing," Trudeau said, "while opening up a new realm of possibilities for Canadian research and innovation."
READ MORE: Canada's heading to the moon: A look at the Lunar Gateway [CBC]
More on the Lunar Gateway: NASA Head: "This Time, When We Go to the Moon, We Will Stay."