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posted by janrinok on Sunday May 26 2019, @10:05PM   Printer-friendly
from the to-infinity-or...-never-mind dept.

According to Extreme Tech,

NASA is going back to the Moon, and this time, it intends to stay a while. That's the news from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who announced the first company chosen to deliver a vital component of the space agency's Lunar Gateway space station. Maxar Technologies will build the power and propulsion system for the Lunar Gateway, the first step in NASA's ambitious new Artemis project that will put humans on the Moon's surface in just five years.

"This time when we go to the Moon, we're actually going to stay," Bridenstine said. "The goal here is speed. 2024 is right around the corner."

But then, there is this:

May 24 (UPI) -- Just weeks after he was assigned to lead NASA's renewed efforts to explore the moon, special assistant Mark Sirangelo has left the space agency, officials said.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Sirangelo's departure in an internal memo Thursday, Space News reported.

Sirangelo joined NASA last month as special assistant to the administrator and was tabbed to guide the agency's efforts to explore the lunar surface. Bridenstine said, however, that NASA's proposal for the "Moon to Mars Mission Directorate", which had support from the White House, was turned down by Congress.

"NASA proposed to the House and Senate a reorganization to establish a new mission directorate focused on a sustainable lunar campaign," Bridenstine said in a statement. "The proposal was not accepted at this time, so we will move forward under our current organizational structure within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate."

The mission was first announced in March to meet Vice President Mike Pence's goal of returning humans on the moon by 2024.

Sirangelo appeared with other NASA officials this week at an advisory council to discuss exploration plans. At the meeting, he said he'd been working on the plan to return to the moon, a mission he called "daunting." Also at the meeting, Bridenstine said NASA needs an additional $1.6 billion for the 2020 budget to reach the goal.

"Given NASA is no longer pursuing the new mission directorate, Mark has opted to pursue other opportunities. I want to personally thank Mark for his service and his valuable contributions to the agency," Bridenstine said.

What is a young science-curious Soylentil to think?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Project Artemis: Return to the Moon to Cost Another $20-30 Billion 32 comments

Bridenstine estimates Artemis cost at $20–30 billion

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a television interview June 13 that it will cost the agency an additional $20 billion to $30 billion to return humans to the moon, the first range of costs given by the agency for the program.

In an interview with CNN, Bridenstine said that estimate would be above earlier projections for costs of existing elements of what's now called the Artemis program, such as the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.

"For the whole program, to get a sustainable presence on the moon, we're looking at between 20 and 30 billion dollars," he said. "When we talk about the 20 to 30 billion dollars, it would be 20 or 30 billion on top of the normal NASA budget but, of course, that would be spread over five years."

[...] The lack of cost estimates for Artemis had become a point of frustration for members of Congress. "For us in Congress to be able to grapple with these things, we need some idea of how much of a cost is expected to be incurred over the next five years," said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) during a June 11 hearing by the House Science Committee's space subcommittee on NASA's science program where he sought, unsuccessfully, to get a cost estimate like the one Bridenstine provided in the interview.

Also at The Verge.

Previously: Here's Why NASA's Audacious Return to the Moon Just Might Work
Lockheed Martin Proposes Streamlined Lunar Gateway for 2024 Manned Lunar Landing
Artemis: NASA to Receive $1.6 Billion for 2024 Manned Moon Landing
NASA Orders First Segment of Lunar Station for 2024 Artemis Moon Mission


Original Submission

New Head of Human Exploration at NASA Committed to Reaching the Moon by 2024 18 comments

After shocking leadership shakeup at NASA, new head of human exploration says moon 2024 is doable:

Less than 24 hours after being named head of human exploration at NASA, former astronaut Ken Bowersox said the agency is trying to speed up decision-making in its quest to reach the moon by 2024.

"The key is we need to fly when we're ready, but if we don't shoot for 2024 we have zero chance," Bowersox said Thursday at the American Astronautical Society's John Glenn Memorial Symposium. "Our attitude is to get as much of this going as we can — to move as fast as we can, as long as we can."

Bowersox' brief remarks in Cleveland follow the shocking announcement Wednesday night that Bill Gerstenmaier — a pillar in NASA's human exploration operations since 2005 — was out as the agency's associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The announcement was made in a Wednesday email to NASA employees from Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "As you know, NASA has been given a bold challenge to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, with a focus on the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars," he wrote. "In an effort to meet this challenge, I have decided to make leadership changes." He then named Bowersox — a 62-year-old veteran of five space shuttle flights — as Gerstenmaier's replacement.

The decision — which surprised many in the space community — comes as NASA continues a years-long struggle to keep its human exploration plans on track. Projects such as the Space Launch System rocket being built to launch humans to the moon and the commercial crew program, meant to alleviate the country's reliance on Russia for transportation to the International Space Station, are years behind schedule.

See also: To the Moon and beyond

Related: 2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration
NASA Chief Says a Falcon Heavy Rocket Could Fly Humans to the Moon
Here's Why NASA's Audacious Return to the Moon Just Might Work
Lockheed Martin Proposes Streamlined Lunar Gateway for 2024 Manned Lunar Landing
Artemis: NASA to Receive $1.6 Billion for 2024 Manned Moon Landing
NASA Orders First Segment of Lunar Station for 2024 Artemis Moon Mission
Project Artemis: Return to the Moon to Cost Another $20-30 Billion


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @10:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 26 2019, @10:37PM (#848016)

    He'll enjoy it there... no women seductresses to tempt him.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Sunday May 26 2019, @10:46PM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Sunday May 26 2019, @10:46PM (#848023) Journal

    We're going to lunar orbit. This time to stay.

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    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by coolgopher on Monday May 27 2019, @08:20AM (1 child)

      by coolgopher (1157) on Monday May 27 2019, @08:20AM (#848133)

      Sounds to me like they're just going around in circles...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27 2019, @07:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27 2019, @07:19PM (#848238)

        Actually, think more elliptical.

        But you have the right idea, it is questionable when they will manage to get anywhere useful.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Monday May 27 2019, @12:31AM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday May 27 2019, @12:31AM (#848043) Journal

    Price, contract terms helped Maxar secure Gateway contract [spacenews.com]

    An ability to get on contract quickly and a price far lower that other companies were key factors in NASA’s decision to award a contract to Maxar Technologies for the first element of the lunar Gateway, the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE).

    A source selection statement released by NASA May 23 outlined the agency’s assessment of proposals for the PPE submitted by Maxar and four other companies: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The document provides details on the technical and management aspects of the companies’ proposals as well as their price.

    The document shows that Maxar, identified in the document as Space Systems Loral (SSL), the former name of its satellite manufacturing division, offered a price well below the other companies. While Maxar offered a firm fixed price of $375 million, other bids ranged from $565.9 million by Northrop to $768.8 million from SNC.

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    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 2) by Username on Monday May 27 2019, @02:03AM (2 children)

    by Username (4557) on Monday May 27 2019, @02:03AM (#848066)

    I think it's purely political, considering the dates 2020, and 2024. The budget is decided annually, but these are only the election years.

    What are we going to do up there anyway? Say the moon supports Hilary Clinton's 2020 campaign?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday May 27 2019, @02:09AM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday May 27 2019, @02:09AM (#848068) Journal

      Best case scenario, the Gateway doesn't cost *that* much, "helps" land astronauts on the Moon, and could be used for some other purpose such as assembling space telescopes (but we could do that at the ISS, so...).

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Monday May 27 2019, @07:03AM

      by Sulla (5173) on Monday May 27 2019, @07:03AM (#848124) Journal

      Good point, we should give up on any advancement that Trump (or any politician) might claim as a win. That'll show em!

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      Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27 2019, @02:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 27 2019, @02:53PM (#848192)

    Speed is not a good factor in special engineering. Nor is primitivity simplicity. Americans cannot properly handle their toilet on International Space Station orbiting Earth, that provides me some basic data for thinking what will happen to their Moon facilities.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by aristarchus on Tuesday May 28 2019, @02:57AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Tuesday May 28 2019, @02:57AM (#848390) Journal

    I post to give my fellow soylentils a topic on which to converse. Lunar exploration gets 9 comments, and only some of them serious? We could have had an aristarchus submission, instead!

    Oh, and as for VP Pence, I believe the title was "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".

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