The head of NASA describes the 2-phase plan for the exploration of the Moon

The head of NASA describes the 2-phase plan for the exploration of the Moon

The head of NASA describes the 2-phase plan for the exploration of the Moon



<! –

During the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described more about NASA's 2024 Moon plan.

->

Derek Richardson

April 10, 2019

At the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discusses the agency's plan to return humans to the Moon by 2024.

At the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discusses the agency's plan to return humans to the Moon by 2024.

During the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described more about NASA's 2024 Moon plan.

Last month, Vice President Mike Pence challenged NASA to return humans to the Moon in five years. Since then, the agency has been working on a way to accelerate the plan in which it had already been working to send people to the lunar surface by 2028.

During the symposium, Bridenstine said that the 2028 plan, based on Directive 1 of President Trump's Space Policy, is the same, except that certain elements will be shuffled and accelerated.

"Those things that we were going to invest in, in 2025, 2026, 2027, we're going to move," said Bridenstine. "Well, number one, we have to start the EM-1 in 2020, and we are committed to that happening."

To achieve that, the lunar objectives have been divided into two phases. Phase one, Bridenstine said, has to do with speed. He said that if something is not needed to achieve the goal of sending astronauts to the surface of the Moon by the year 2024, then it will not focus.

NASA's plan to bring humans to the surface of the Moon by 2024 means that the development of the Space Launch System must be accelerated. Image credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

NASA's plan for humans to reach the surface of the Moon by 2024 means that the development of the Space Launch System must be accelerated. Image credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

Phase 1: speed


Bridenstine said the plan is to make sure that Exploration Mission-1, the first full test flight of the Space Launch System with prolonged delay with the Orion capsule and the European service module, occurs in 2020.

This must be followed by EM-2, the first flight with crew, as soon as possible afterwards. NASA said it is now aiming for 2022 to fly that mission, which would involve sending four astronauts on a free-return path, similar to the path taken by Apollo 13 during its famous mission of "successful failure" in 1970.

That same year, the first element of the Lunar Gateway, a NASA spacecraft, is calling a reusable command module located in an "almost rectilinear halo orbit" (a highly elliptical orbit around the Moon) that will allow not only A rapid return to the moon is expected, but sustainable, is launched.

The first Gateway element, a power and propulsion module, is programmed to be built by a commercial supplier and orbited by a commercial rocket. The agency said it will use advanced electric solar propulsion.

An illustration of a partially completed lunar Gateway with a logistics module attached to it. Image credit: NASA

An illustration of a partially completed lunar Gateway with a logistics module attached to it. Image credit: NASA

It is likely that the other Gateway modules include docking bays, habitat modules, an airlock and a robotic arm built by Canada. However, the final configuration is still under study.

What is known is that only the elements necessary for a quick return to the Moon must be launched first. It is likely that this means only the power and propulsion module and perhaps a coupling or use module.

Meanwhile, beginning as soon as possible in Congress, study contracts, and soon hardware contracts, are expected to be signed for the three stages of a human-sized lunar landing architecture. This includes a transfer vehicle to reach the low lunar orbit, a descent vehicle to reach the surface of the Moon, and a climb vehicle to return to the Gateway.

Except for the downhill vehicle, at least initially, all these elements are expected to be reusable and refueled by commercial companies.

The goal is to use these pieces to land "the next man and the first woman" on the Moon by 2024. But many things must happen before that, including convincing Congress to provide several billion additional dollars per year. to achieve this goal of ambition. .

An illustration of NASA astronauts on the surface of the Moon. Image credit: NASA

An illustration of NASA astronauts on the surface of the Moon. Image credit: NASA

Phase 2: sustainability


The second phase is where everything else in the 2028 Moon plan will be pushed. The rest of the gateway is expected to end during this period of time, commercial cargo runs to the gateway and even the lunar surface are expected to be advanced.

NASA hopes to learn how to use the resources of the Moon to make oxygen, water and hydrogen, as well as to reduce the logistics required for the missions of the Moon. In addition, the technology required for future missions to Mars will also be tested during phase 2.

"The Moon is a testing ground, it's the best place to live and work in another world so we can go to Mars," said Bridenstine.

If any of this sounds familiar, it is because the agency used the same philosophy to divide the work on the International Space Station once it was formally agreed at the beginning of the 1990s.

For the ISS, Phase 1 consisted of learning to dock and live in space for long periods of time. This was achieved through the Shuttle-Mir program in the mid-1990s and involved shuttle links between 1995 and 1997, as well as several American astronauts who stayed aboard Mir for long periods of time.

The space shuttle Atlantis, it turned out, docked with the Mir space station during the STS-71 in June 1995. It was the first orbiter to dock with the Russian space station. Photo credit: NASA

The space shuttle Atlantis, it turned out, docked with the Mir space station during the STS-71 in June 1995. It was the first orbiter to dock with the Russian space station. Photo credit: NASA

Phase 2 of the ISS program was the initial construction. According to NASA, it was intended to have the space station ready to support the first long-duration crews. This was completed once the first long-term crew arrived at the outpost in November 2000. The ISS has been continuously occupied ever since.

The third phase was the complete badembly of the ISS. Initially, it was expected to be completed in the mid-2000s, but a combination of delays in hardware and the Columbia accident in 2003, which caused a 3.5-year break in the main construction, led to the conclusion to 2011.

Part of Bridenstine's drive to get people back to the Moon is personal and cultural. He said he is the first administrator of NASA that was not born during the landings of the Apollo Moon. His first memories of space were the Challenger accident and, later, the Columbia accident.

"These are images that my generation remembers," said Bridenstine. "These are the images that my generation needs to change. We need to go back to the moon. We have to make those impressive achievements. "We need people to record in their minds those moments in history that are of greatness and not of tragedy."

Video courtesy of NASA.

Tagged: EM-1 Jim Bridenstine Main Stories Luna Luna by 2024 NASA SLS Space Symposium

Derek Richardson

Derek Richardson holds a degree in media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While in Washburn, he was the administrative director of the student-led newspaper, Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team soon after.

His pbadion for space flared when he saw the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in space on October 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated into orbit and shows no sign of slowing down. After venturing into the mathematics and engineering courses at the university, he soon realized that his true calling was to communicate with others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our administrative editor. @TheSpaceWriter


Source link