Trump Proposes Extra $1.6 Billion for NASA's 2024 Return to Moon

A new budget amendment gives NASA an additional $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2020, on top of the $21 billion already allocated to the space agency, President Donald Trump announced today (May 13).

This investment is a down payment on NASA's efforts and is required to achieve our bold objective. NASA's Apollo 11 mission succeeded in landing the first humans on the moon on July 20, 1969.

The third mission, to come in 2024, would send a pair of astronauts, one woman and one man, to the Gateway, and then to the lunar surface.

NASA shortly thereafter published a summary of its budget amendment, which calls for almost $1.9 billion in new funding for developing lunar landers and accelerating work on the Space Launch System and Orion. "But I will tell you when we talk about what Nasa is trying to achieve, there is a lot of excitement".

To sweeten the deal, Bridenstine announced a catchy name for the program at the very end of the teleconference. Because the return to the Moon will include women, Bridenstine said the new program would be named Artemis, after Apollo's twin sister. Our astronaut office is very diverse and highly qualified. "I think it is very lovely that, 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man and the first woman to the moon". "She happened to be the goddess of the Moon".

The lunar orbiting space station called the Gateway will be scaled back to meet the timeline, and NASA will need a transfer vehicle, a lander and an ascent vehicle for the mission. Those components include both a power and propulsion module and a small habitat module. "In the coming years, we will need additional funds", he said. NASA's European partners will also keep their critical role of providing life support systems for Orion. The SLS is due for its first uncrewed test flight in 2020, with a crewed round-the-moon flight in 2023 and the climactic Artemis launch in 2024.

Human lunar landing system: $1 billion to support the development of a commercial lunar landing system capable of carrying astronauts. Bridenstine said during the call that he had not been briefed on what those budgetary offsets would be. That increase would be offset by cutting funding for the lunar Gateway by $321 million, reflecting the agency's plan for only a "minimal" Gateway needed to support a 2024 landing.

NASA still isn't ready to disclose a total cost estimate for the moon-landing effort, which Bridenstine today said is called Artemis. He emphasized that one of the primary goals for lunar operations was to blaze a trail for voyages to Mars.

Trump also said he would push for $200 million for Army Corps of Engineers restoration work in the Florida Everglades this year, calling on Congress "to help us complete the world's largest intergovernmental watershed restoration project ASAP!" "The moon is a three-day journey home, so if something goes wrong, we know we can make it home". That's why the moon is so valuable.

The agency's chief of human spaceflight, Bill Gerstenmaier, said the additional funding now would allow the agency to begin awarding design and development contracts for the lander elements by September or October of this year.

"The next leap in space will be fueled by commercial companies changing the way we do business in space while creating new technologies and innovations", he said.

Of that additional funding, $1 billion would go to lunar lander development, specifically an "integrated commercial lunar lander" whose development would be led by industry.

"They can build a lander that just integrates with the Gateway, robots, rovers, landers", he said. "We want this to be open architecture. All of these pieces would be interoperable, published on the internet, for anybody who wanted to participate in our sustainable return to the moon".

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