By Cailey Rizzo
Updated: April 08, 2017
Courtesy of Boeing

Although most travelers only know Boeing as a manufacturer of commercial planes, the aviation company revealed this week that it is working to send people into space.

This week, the company revealed plans for its Deep Space Gateway and Transport systems that could help NASA increase space exploration from the moon to Mars.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which is being developed with help from Boeing, would put a habitat for astronauts in cislunar space (translation: near the moon). The Deep Space Gateway would then act as a launching pad for missions to Mars.

“The ability to simultaneously launch humans and cargo on SLS would allow us to assemble the gateway in four launches in the early 2020s,” Pete McGrath, director of global sales and marketing for Boeing’s space exploration division, said in a statement.

Courtesy of Boeing

The docking system at the Deep Space Gateway would be something similar to what’s already installed at the International Space Station to house the Deep Space Transport vehicle. When astronauts board this spacecraft, they would then be propelled to Mars, where they could attempt a landing and surface mission or enter orbit and conduct experiments there.

Once the Mars mission is complete, the spacecraft could turn around and head back to the gateway. There it would be serviced and prepared to go out on another mission.

If all goes according to plan, by the end of the 2020s the system would be ready for testing to prove whether or not it’s safe to send to Mars.