NASA released a new overview document Monday stating their approach to landing astronauts on the moon for the first time since the Apollo 17.
NASA on Monday released its latest plan to return astronauts to the Moon. The agency is planning to make this happen in 2024 and estimated the cost of meeting that deadline at $28 billion. Out of it, the $16 billion would be spent on the lunar landing module.
NASA Publishes Artemis Plan
NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration released a nearly five-year, $28 billion plan Monday. The commitment is to return astronauts to the surface of the moon before the end of 2024. However, the agency’s officers said the “aggressive” timeline set by the Trump administration last year hinges on Congress approving $3.2 billion in the next few months to kick-start the development of new human-rated lunar landers.
As reported by phys.org, the plan that was unveiled last Monday contained few new details not previously disclosed by the agency. It assumes crews will launch the first heavy-lift rocket on NASA’s Space Launch System. Next is to fly to the moon’s vicinity on an Orion capsule. Then, transfer into a commercially-developed lunar lander to ferry the astronauts to and from the lunar surface.
NASA released a new statement in a document Monday stating the agency’s approach to landing astronauts on the moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. The program, called Artemis, encompasses the SLS, Orion, Human Landing Systems, and the Gateway, a human-tended platform in lunar orbit that will eventually serve as a staging point for missions to the moon.
“NASA has all the key systems and contracts in place to ensure that we are meeting the president’s ambitious goal of returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Is it politically possible?
The Trump administration last year directed NASA to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by the end of 2024, moving up the space agency’s previous moon landing schedule by four years.
Bridenstine acknowledged the challenge of landing astronauts on the moon in four years. Three companies, namely Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX, are evolving human-rated lunar landers for NASA. These plans next year to select one or two of the lander teams to continue work on their spacecraft.
Political Congress will have to sign off on the financing for a project that has been set by President Donald Trump as a top priority. As reported, the $28 billion would cover the budgetary years of 2021 to 2025.
Images used courtesy of Unveiled/YouTube Screenshot.