“So to save money, and to reduce political risk, we want to go fast … 2024 is an aggressive timeline. 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Commercial enterprises like SpaceX could also potentially travel to the moon on their own dime, he added. “I would argue that we’re still within the realm of possibility because we do have our work underway right now.”, “If we go beyond March and we still don’t have the Human Landing System funded, it becomes increasingly more difficult,” he said Monday in a conference call with reporters. The Senate has not drafted a NASA budget bill for the next fiscal year, and Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution by the end of September to keep the government running through Election Day, after which lawmakers could pass a budget for the rest of fiscal year 2021. NASA officials released a nearly five-year, $28 billion plan Monday to return astronauts to the surface of the moon before the end of 2024, but the agency’s administrator 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 development of new human-rated lunar landers. With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. NASA officials anticipate the Artemis 3 crew will spend nearly a week on the lunar surface to conduct at least two, and perhaps four, moonwalk excursions. Yes.”. 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. After flying the Orion spacecraft to link up with the lander in a high-altitude lunar orbit, the astronauts will move into the descent vehicle for the final leg of the journey to the moon. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. For the Artemis 3 mission in 2024, NASA would launch an Orion spacecraft, fly it into lunar orbit, land astronauts on the lunar surface, then safely return everyone to Earth. Artemis is the name of NASA's program to return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024. The chances of achieving a lunar landing with astronauts in 2024 depend on winning support in Congress, and that support is not assured. Bridenstine said companies could supply more private funding to make up for a potential shortfall in the NASA budget. Blue Origin’s concept involves a descent element the company will build itself, along with a crew cabin from Lockheed Martin, and a propulsive transfer stage from Northrop Grumman. The plan calls for a lunar landing in 2024, but before that, NASA intends to launch two other missions to the moon to test its new Orion spacecraft. NASA released a new overview document Monday describing the agency’s approach to landing astronauts on the moon for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Without full funding from Congress, Bridenstine said, the agency would not get to the moon in 2024, though it may still try to get there "at the earliest possible opportunity.". Lueders said Monday that the lander teams led by Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX are “hitting every single milestone” under contracts awarded by NASA in April. “When that omnibus appropriation is complete, I really believe there will be $3.2 billion for a Human Landing System. “There’s a number of different risks when you deal with human spaceflight,” Bridenstine said. “Right now, we have no plans for Artemis 3 for anything other than the south pole,” Bridenstine said Monday. The program would launch an uncrewed mission around the moon in 2021, followed by a crewed moon flyby in 2023, then a lunar landing in 2024. “I will tell you that there is broad consensus that it is time to go to the moon sustainably, and 2024 is achievable, and we’re working towards that,” he said. “If Congress doesn’t fund the moon landing program, then it won’t be achieved,” Bridenstine said later in his conference call with reporters Monday. For 18 months, NASA has focused on landing astronauts in 2024 near the moon's south pole, but that last piece of the directive may need to take a back seat if executing the mission gets too tricky, agency officials say. The rest of the funds are far from a sure bet, however. So far, the agency has spent about $1 billion on that effort. But the hoped-for resource has made the moon's south pole a priority destination. Our goal is to create the plan that best optimizes our ability to land on the moon by 2024, but certainly if the money doesn’t materialize, could they do it with their own resources? Here are the latest details on the planned Artemis missions. "The companies themselves could step up to the plate in a bigger way," Bridenstine said. "If we can have that done before Christmas, we're still on track for a 2024 moon landing," he said. By Meghan Bartels 18 September 2020. She said NASA officials will evaluate their options in the “February/March timeframe” of next year before finalizing the HLS procurement strategy. NASA scientists hope that fuel mined and produced on the moon could then be used for trips back home or deeper into space. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. Thank you for signing up to Space. “We need that $3.2 billion for the Human Landing System,” Bridenstine said. He added that the agency typically assigns space crews about two years before launch. The Gateway will also have international contributions from Canada, Europe, and Japan. The designs also include better in-helmet communications systems and other technological upgrades. The Orion spacecraft has been in development since 2006 as part of NASA’s Constellation program initiated by the George W. Bush administration. That crew would go farther into deep space than any humans before them. Europe will help build NASA's moon-orbiting Gateway space station, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is tucking away precious asteroid samples for safekeeping. Please refresh the page and try again. The Artemis program landing site issue came up at two separate events with agency leaders this week, beginning with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's comments to open a digital meeting held by a NASA advisory group called the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, on Monday (Sept. 14). NASA's timeline suggests that mission would launch in November 2021. CNBC's Steve Liesman breaks down the results of the latest CNBC All-America survey. NASA recently decided to add a rendezvous and proximity operations demonstration to the Artemis 2 flight plan. "We're really looking at a bunch of different options for making a decision," SpacePolicyOnline.com reported Lueders said. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The program, named 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. The astronauts will “assess Orion’s handling characteristics” during the manual piloting demo, which will stop short of an actual docking with the upper stage,” NASA officials wrote in the Artemis planning document released Monday The demonstration will “provide provide performance data and operational experience that cannot be readily gained on the ground in preparation for critical rendezvous, proximity operations, docking, as well as undocking operations” beginning on the Artemis 3 mission. Hawaii required all new travelers to quarantine for 14-days when arriving. Utilization Module to the lunar space station, known as the Gateway. In a lunar flyby, the Orion capsule would carry four astronauts around the moon's far side, which is almost a quarter of a million miles from Earth. So, more to come.". That could be at the end of the year, and it could be in March.”. Despite the funding uncertainty, Bridenstine said he is confident NASA will get the lunar lander money. A draft budget for NASA passed by the House in July would provide $628 million for lunar lander development in fiscal year 2021, which begins Oct. 1. After that, Artemis 2 would be the first crewed test of Orion and the SLS rocket. The spacecraft wouldn't carry any passengers, but would stay in the moon's orbit for three days as a test of its ability to fly to the moon and back. On Wednesday (Sept. 16), Kathy Lueders, the associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations directorate seemed to underscore that the south pole landing site was no longer set in stone, according to SpacePolicyOnline.com reporting on a Washington Space Business Roundtable event. NASA just unveiled its first full plan for its Artemis program, a series of missions to return people to the moon for the first time since 1972. NASA is pinning its hopes on an omnibus appropriations bill at the end of the year, but the House of Representatives has so far only approved about $630 million in additional funds. The 1st Artemis astronauts on the moon may not visit the lunar south pole after all, NASA says . I'll leave it to them to make their own determination. NASA is asking Congress for nearly $28 billion. The first mission in the Artemis program, Artemis 1, calls for the launch of an Orion space capsule atop NASA's forthcoming mega-rocket, the Space Launch System.