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Home / Science / Back to the moon, the bank will not break, says the NASA boss

Back to the moon, the bank will not break, says the NASA boss



MOFFETT FIELD, California – The return of humans to the moon does not require a big budget push in the style of Apollo, NASA Administrator Jim Briddentine said.

At the height of the Apollo program in the mid-1960s, NASA devoured about 4.5 percent of the federal budget. This massive influx of resources helped the space agency meet President John F. Kennedy's famous promise to bring astronauts to the moon by the end of the decade and be safely back on Earth.

The budget share of NASA hovers around only 0.5 percent. But something in this area should be enough to mount manned missions over the next 10 years, as President Donald Trump has tasked NASA with its space policy 1

, Briddens said during media availability yesterday (August 30) here at the NASA Ames Research Center. [In Photos: President Trump Aims for the Moon with Space Policy Directive 1]

The key is not to do it alone and continue to get relatively modest but important financial hurdles, he added. (Congress provided over $ 20.7 billion to NASA in the 2018 collective bill – about $ 1.1 billion more than the agency had received in the previous year's bus bill.)

"We now have more space agencies on the surface as we "And even countries that have no space agency – they have space activities and want to join us on our return to the moon," said Briddensine on a question from Space.com. [19659006] NASA Administrator Jim Briddentine (left) becomes Take a tour of the Arc Jet Complex at the NASA Ames Research Center in California on August 30, 2018. "/>

NASA Administrator Jim Briddenstine (left) gets a guided tour of the Arc Jet Complex NASA's Ames Research Center in California on August 30, 2018.

Credit: Mike Wall / Space.com

"And at the same time we have a robust commercial marketplace of people who can offer us access that did not historically exist. They do not exist," added the NASA chief. "I think we've stepped up between our international and commercial partners and ours Budget will be in good shape to achieve the objectives of the Space Policy Guideline 1. "

These goals require a sustained return of man to the European Union moon, rather than the temporary, flag-and-footprint approach of Apollo Establishing permanent presence on and around the Moon is a goal in itself, but it will also provide NASA and its partners with the technologies and capabilities required to go far Bridenstine and other officials have come to the solar system, to Mars, and beyond

For example, water ice extracted from permanently shaded craters near the lunar poles could contain hydrogen and oxygen – the main components of rocket fuel – be disassembled. This fuel could then be transported to alien depots that could fill the tanks of spaceships destined for Mars or other distant targets. This strategy could usher in a new era of exploration, freeing humanity from the need to dispose of vast quantities of fuel from Earth's substantial gravitational source, advocates of space mines argued.

The centerpiece of NASA's lunar surface is, at least in the short term, the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway. This small lunar orbital space station is assembled and surveyed using NASA's Megarocket space launch system and the Orion capsule, both of which are under development.

The Gateway will accommodate up to four astronauts for a month or two, serving as a hub for exploring the lunar surface, both with robots and crew, NASA officials said. [Moon Base Visions: How to Build a Lunar Colony (Photos)]

The first element of the gateway, its power and drive module, is scheduled to start in 2022. Other important parts will be released soon afterwards. If everything goes according to plan, astronauts could visit the outpost as early as 2024, and NASA officials said a few years later, before the end of the 2020s, the search for the lunar surface would begin.

This will be a milestone when it happens: Since the Apollo 17 astronauts set out on Earth in 1972, no boots have pressed into the gray moon.

The Gateway will be compatible with a variety of different vehicles, encouraging collaboration that NASA officials consider so important.

"We want strong partnerships, not only commercially, but internationally so that we can do more than ever before and build this sustainable architecture, which is our direction under the Space Policy Directive 1," Briddentine said.

In fact, NASA promotes the advancement of private lands, as developed by the American companies Blue Origin, Moon Express and Astrobotic. The Agency plans to buy some lunar surface voyages on board such commercial vehicles instead of having to build or buy each lunar lander itself.

After all, commercial vehicles can even carry NASA astronauts – not just robotic payloads – from the gateway to the lunar surface and back, Brittenstine said.

This approach is in line with the Authority's recent attempt to commercialize low Earth orbit. SpaceX and Northrop Grumman are already launching unmanned NASA missions to the International Space Station, and SpaceX and Boeing are holding multi-billion dollar deals to transport astronauts to and from the space lab. The first manned flights of these private astronaut taxis will take place next year.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+ . Follow us @SpaceTotcom Facebook or Google+ . This version of the story was published on Space.com .


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