Tech UPTechnologyNASA will send astronauts to the Moon in 2024

NASA will send astronauts to the Moon in 2024

The Donald Trump administration has announced the activation of plans to send American astronauts back to the Moon, moving from 2028 to 2024 as a goal, calling for a “spark of urgency” to prevail over the delays that have plagued plans to NASA lunar return.

“It is the stated policy of this administration and of the United States of America to return American astronauts to the Moon in the next five years,” Vice President Mike Pence said in his address in Huntsville, Alabama, “Rocket City,” where Rockets have been built since the 1960s. The birthplace of NASA rockets is in the land of cotton, hundreds of miles from the Cape Canaveral launch pads. Rocket City’s nickname for Huntsville is due in large part to Wernher von Braun and his German team that settled here for this purpose in the 1950s.

“Let me be clear, the first woman and the next man on the Moon will be American astronauts launched by American rockets from American soil,” said Pence, echoing earlier statements by NASA chief Jim Bridenstine that a woman could be the next human being to set foot on Earth’s artificial satellite.

Delays

The first manned flight of the Moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972 had been scheduled for 2028. But the program has run into frustrating delays in the development of a new rocket for missions to the Moon, the so-called Launch System. Space (SLS), whose first unmanned flight was delayed even to 2020 or maybe longer.

Within months of taking office, US President Donald Trump made clear his desire to revitalize the US space agency, which had been somewhat adrift since the end of 2011 on its shuttle program.

In 2017, Trump set a goal of returning to the Moon as the first step before moving on to human exploration of Mars. Thus, NASA adopted a launch program for a manned mission to the Moon for 2028.

“That’s not good enough. We are better than that. It took us eight years to get to the moon, the first time, 50 years ago, when we had never done it before,” Pence said. “It shouldn’t take us 11 years to get back,” he said.

In his speech, Pence criticized “bureaucratic inertia” and “paralysis by analysis” that he said had caused delays at the SLS and called for a “new mindset” at the space agency. “Urgency must be our watchword. Not achieving our goal of returning an American astronaut to the Moon in the next five years is not an option,” he said.

From the Soviet Union to China

He said the US was participating in an ongoing “space race” under Trump, this time against China, as well as in the 1960s under President John F. Kennedy against the Soviet Union.

Ultimatum to NASA

Pence threatened to use commercial launch systems or seek other partners if NASA is not ready in time. “To be clear, we are not committed to anyone’s contract. If our current contractors cannot meet this goal, we will find others to do so.”

“If commercial rockets are the only way to get American astronauts to the moon in the next five years, then commercial rockets will be the one to do it,” he said.

He didn’t mention SpaceX or other companies by name, but the allusion was clear, as SpaceX currently has rockets capable of launching heavy payloads into space.

“We’ll get it done,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine responded to the vice president. He assured the meeting that the SLS rocket would be ready in 2020.

Here we go. We will return to the Moon in 2024.

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