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NASA Lays Out $28 Billion Plan To Return Astronauts To The Moon In 2024

by : Julia Banim on : 22 Sep 2020 15:46
NASA moonNASA moonPexels/NASA

NASA has outlined a $28 billion plan to return astronauts to the moon before the end of 2024.

The plan, which was unveiled Monday, September 21, outlines new details for the expedition, which will apparently see crews launching on NASA’s Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket before flying to the moon via an Orion capsule.

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The astronauts will then transfer to a commercially-developed lunar lander, which will ferry them back and forth from the lunar surface.

Full moonFull moonPixabay

In a new overview document, NASA described its approach to landing astronauts on the surface of the moon for the first time since the December 1972 Apollo 17 mission.

The program – named Artemis after the goddess of the moon – encompasses the SLS, Orion, and Human Landing Systems as well as the Gateway, a platform in lunar orbit tended by humans that is expected to one day serve as a staging point for moon missions.

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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said:

Under the Artemis program, humanity will explore regions of the Moon never visited before, uniting people around the unknown, the never seen, and the once impossible.

We will return to the Moon robotically beginning next year, send astronauts to the surface within four years, and build a longterm presence on the Moon by the end of the decade.

I am proud to share NASA’s Artemis Plan — this is how we will go to the Moon once again. And how we will use the Moon as the stepping stone for our next greatest leap—human exploration of Mars.

Moon landingsMoon landingsPA

However, NASA’s timeline will rely upon Congress releasing the $3.2 billion required to cover the costs of the construction of the landing system.

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Bridenstine explained:

The $28bn represents the costs associated for the next four years in the Artemis programme to land on the Moon. SLS funding, Orion funding, the human landing system and of course the spacesuits – all of those things that are part of the Artemis programme are included.

[…] The budget request that we have before the House and the Senate right now includes $3.2bn for 2021 for the human landing system. It is critically important that we get that $3.2bn.

The US House of Representatives has already passed a Bill to allocate $600 million worth of funding for the lunar lander, however NASA will require more funding in order to fully develop the vehicle.

Phase is expected to take place in the autumn of 2021, with an uncrewed test, called called Artemis-1., being flown around the Moon, staying for approximately one month to test critical systems. This flight would reduce risks for Artemis-2, which will repeat the very same trip, except with astronauts.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Astronauts, Moon, NASA, Now, Space

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    Artemis Plan