NASA Administrator Jim Brittenstein asks the agency to return to the moon "fast" but sustainable. On Thursday, NASA leaders held an industrial day to answer questions about aerodynamic device development plans that will ultimately allow people to return to the moon. Their primary message to the US space community is that NASA is seriously tuned to return to the Moon and the agency needs the community's help to do so as soon as possible.
"We want to achieve a balance between finding the moon as fast as possible, and when we get to the Moon, we're there to stay," said NASA Administrator Jim Brittenstein during a media call before the event.
NASA has a two-way approach to returning to the moon.To quickly reach the lunar surface and support the emerging commercial industry that is interested in exploring there, the agency has launched a program for commercially beneficial loads last year This means that NASA proposes to buy RVCs to the Moon from nine different suppliers.
NASA's Science Program Leader Thomas Zurbby said that this program was designed with speed and will suffer some failure. "For us, if we have any desire, we would like to fly this calendar year," he said, "we do not expect every start and land to be successful."
NASA has begun developing a dozen useful loads, some of which lead to science sperimenti and others ̵
1; to better characterize the lunar environment for those commercial flights. Zurbuchen said that these payloads will be ready for missions before the end of 2019, but suppliers will set the schedules when they are ready.
He then reiterated that NASA is interested in speed. The agency will "stimulate" speed, which means that companies that will first deliver a payload to the lunar surface will get more money. This new tone by NASA leadership shows that the agency would like to demonstrate tangible progress to the moon surface by July 20 this year, the 50th anniversary of Apollo's moon landings.
Of course, NASA seeks to bring people back to the moon's surface to study, perform experiments and determine whether water and other resources can be used. In the documents to be given to the industry, the agency has indicated a return to the moon not earlier than 2028, with earlier demonstration missions in 2024 and 2026
To this end, the agency published a wide-ranging statement of the agency that outlines its "architecture". "about how this will be done." This will lead to a vehicle that will pass between the Lunar Gateway, in orbit with a high halo around the moon and low lunar orbit. From there, the agency will use a descending vehicle to descend to the moon's surface, while a climbing vehicle will carry the crew to low lunar orbit. You still have to determine which elements of this architecture can be reused and how to re-use the elements used.
During the industrial day, aerospace companies were encouraged to bid for specific elements of this particular architecture of a "human catch system". "We are looking for people to respond to this architecture," said Bridence.
Most of the industry is likely to agree, but SpaceX has plans for developing a Super Heavy and a Starship. ) that could go directly to the moon's surface without stopping at the gate. Bridental and NASA Space Boss Leader Bill Gerstenmayer said the agency would welcome new ideas, but vehicles that do not meet this specific architecture will not qualify for the current funding. architecture, but we are not closed, "said Gerstenmayer. NASA would like to find a way to work with alternative plans and then trade them against the existing NASA architecture to determine which landing approach on the Moon is faster and more sustainable.
This may sound good for SpaceX, but it does not seem too useful at a time when the company is actively seeking state funding to help develop Super Heavy and Starship. So far the status quo will probably remain – public funding may follow when SpaceX demonstrates the flight of these vehicles, but probably not before.