According to a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, sending humans to the moon will not need a huge budget as the Apollo programme did in the mid-1960s.
The Apollo mission used almost 4.5% of the federal budget, compared to today’s budget share of nearly 0.5%. A huge difference means huge compromise, but NASA transformed it into an opportunity to connect agencies and private companies from around the globe.
Cooperation will give birth to a new era of space exploration.
Bridenstine visited NASA’s Ames Research Center, where he gave the following statement:
“We now have more space agencies on the surface of the planet than we’ve ever had before. And even countries that don’t have a space agency – they have space activities, and they want to partner with us on our return to the moon.”
Together, they will have enough resources for a crewed lunar mission that will start in the next ten years.
The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Bridenstine explained that this cooperation would ensure achieving all objectives of the Space Policy Directive 1:
“So, between our international and commercial partners and our increased budget, I think we’re going to be in good shape to accomplish the objectives of Space Policy Directive 1.”
The main goal in the crewed moon plans is first to build a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway which will enable long and frequent explorations on the moon.
As soon as the small moon-orbiting space station is assembled, four astronauts will be sent to live there for a month or two. The space station will be a hub for both crewed and robotic explorations of the lunar surface.
The power and propulsion module of the Gateway station will be launched in 2022. Shortly after, the other pieces will be sent towards the first element, and if all goes according to plan, the outpost will be ready to be visited by the first crew in 2024. By the end of the 2020s, NASA will begin the trips to the lunar surface.
With the crew and robots being able to stay on the moon’s surface for a longer time, space mining will be possible. This will allow deep space missions because the water ice on the moon’s poles would be transformed into fuel for spacecraft. The fuel would then help missions deeper into space, slowly making crewed missions to Mars a reality.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere