Faizel Patel – 22/09/2020
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has revealed that it intends returning astronauts to the Moon in 2024.
AFP report the estimated cost of meeting the deadline at $28 billion, $16 billion of which would be spent on the lunar landing module.
Congress, which faces elections on 3 November, will have to sign off on the financing for a project that has been set by President Donald Trump as a top priority.
The $28 billion would cover the budgetary years of 2021-25.
In a phone briefing with journalists Monday on the Artemis mission to return human beings to the Moon, Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine noted that “political risks” were often the biggest threat to Nasa’s work, especially before such a crucial election.
Barack Obama cancelled plans for a manned Mars mission, after his predecessor spent billions of dollars on the project.
Three different projects are in competition to build the lunar lander including Blue Origin, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper.
The other two projects are being undertaken by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and by the company Dynetics.
The first flight, Artemis I, scheduled for November of 2021, will be unmanned: the new giant rocket SLS, currently in its test phase, will take off for the first time with the Orion capsule.
Artemis II, in 2023, will take astronauts around the Moon but will not land.
Finally, Artemis III will be the equivalent of Apollo 11 in 1969, but the stay on the Moon will last longer – for a week – and will include two to five “extravehicular activities.”