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NASA Chief Financial Officer: If SpaceX can land on the moon, we'll work with them



Fifty years ago, on Wednesday, the first people walking on the moon splashed safely into the Pacific.

NASA itches to bring astronauts back to the moon, with the immediate goal in 2024 with their Artemis program to bring boots on the lunar surface. To achieve this, the agency may turn to private rocket developers such as SpaceX.

Artemis will not repeat the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s. Instead, NASA wants to send cargo and supplies to the lunar surface, build a permanent base there, and search for ice. There are hundreds of millions of tons of water on the moon, and this resource can be mined, molten, converted into air, and split into rocket fuel to travel to Mars.

NASA plans to return to the Moon with government-funded space launch system rockets. However, these vehicles will not be available until the end of 2021

(the first should fly in 2017), and the program is billions of dollars above budget. Increasingly, Trump administration officials and NASA executives, unlike Congressional budgets, are signaling that the agency may seek help from SpaceX or Blue Origin.

"We are not committed to any contractor," said Vice President Mike Pence in March. "If our current contractors can not reach this goal, we will find those who can."

More recently, Pence Major Garrett said in the podcast "The Takeout", "If our traditional partners can not do the job, we'll turn to the private space industry to give us the rockets and technology to get there."

Meanwhile, SpaceX sends in-kind alerts to the Trump Administration and NASA.

"It's literally easier to land the spaceship on the Moon than to convince NASA that we can."

Elon Musk presents an updated design of SpaceX's next missile system.
Chris Carlson / AP

This month, Jeffrey Kluger interviewed Time Elon Musk, SpaceX founder, for "CBS Sunday Morning." During this conversation, Musk suggested that his company might try to land on the moon before the end of 2021. SpaceX would supposedly create this feat with Starship, a launching system designed to transport people to the Moon and Mars.

"It's going to sound pretty crazy, but I think we could land on the moon in less than two years, certainly with an unscrewed vehicle that I believe could land on the moon in two years," said Musk. "Then maybe we could send crew within a year or two."

Read more: Comparison of SpaceX's New Spaceship Launch System with NASA's Towering Moon Rockets

Musk added that conducting a private mission might be easier than skeptics within NASA partnering with SpaceX in convincing development of its Starship system – and using taxpayer money for it.

"It can literally be easier to just land the spaceship on the Moon than convince NASA that we can," he said, adding, "Hey, look here, here's a picture of the landing there at the moment! " That could be the better way.

NASA can contact SpaceX if the company can land a moon landing.

The concept of an artist for an Artemis mission with crew on the lunar surface in the 2020s.
NASA

19659002] Recently, we asked Jeff DeWit, NASA's Chief Financial Officer, according to Musk, for an upcoming episode of "Business Insider Today," a top news bulletin on Facebook.

DeWit, in support of the Agency is responsible for making the most cost-effective decisions, saying SpaceX could make a private moon landing with Starship before NASA could return there, ruling out the possibility of NASA's SpaceX partnership on a lunar mission, in fact he underlined the possibility.

"More Power for him. I hope he does, "DeWit said about Musk." If he manages to, we'll partner with them and get there faster. "

He added," It's not about us doing it – it's about America doing it. He is an American company. I would like to work with him and do it. "

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comments on DeWit's statements.

DeWit also said that NASA would like to include commercial companies in the Artemis program Although he named traditional aerospace companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, DeWit most frequently talked about SpaceX and Blue Origin and its founder, Jeff Bezos, who in May came up with a concept for moon landing space vehicles called Blue

"The fact that Elon Musk works for this goal is great," DeWit said. "The fact that Jeff Bezos works for this goal is great."

To develop Starship has SpaceX has built a prototype rocket ship and test rig called Starhopper in South Texas, and the company hopes to launch the vehicle on Wednesday to send it about 20 feet into the air, to float it and land it.

Starhopper is not designed to fly into space. Musk, however, said that a larger prototype called Starship Mark 1, could fly from Texas or Florida in two to three months and end of the year could reach orbit .

In September, Musk announced that SpaceX wanted to use the system to launch a Japanese billionaire around the moon in 2023 (but not land on its surface).


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