NASA Really Really Needs An Artemis Plan - Soon

Artemis Wins Only Lukewarm Support In Final NASA FY 2020 Appropriation, Space Policy Online

"More than half the Artemis-related funding may not be obligated until NASA submits a multi-year plan explaining how it intends to execute that program and development of human lunar landers received far less than requested."

Where Is NASA's Plan For Sustainable Moon/Mars Exploration? (Update), earlier post

"'[Pence] And I recommend to the public's attention the public record that you will find that we are setting specific timelines for the Administrator in the next 60 days to designation of an office and submission of a plan for a sustainable lunar surface exploration and the development of crewed missions to Mars."

Keith's note: I asked NASA Administrator Bridenstine about the report requested by the Vice President and the National Space Council last week. The last meeting of the took place on 20 August 2019. Pence's 60 day due date would therefore have been 19 October. It has been 61 days since the due date passed. Bridenstine said that the report has not been delivered and would provide a date when it will delivered.

Current top to bottom Artemis reviews being conducted by new HEOMD AA Doug Loverro are going to take some time. This recent budget action requires an Artemis program plan before all of the funds are released. Vice President Pence and the National Space Council also called for NASA to deliver an Artemis program plan. It is quite obvious by now that the White House and Congress do not have a clear idea as to how NASA is going to place humans on the Moon by 2024. They want to see plans.

Based on 20+ years of watching NASA, the agency has never been good at delivering this sort of plan to Congress and/or the White House. NASA never delivers these plans on time and the plans that are delivered usually punt on many of the important points which spawned the request for the plan in the first place. The Vice President expressed clear frustration with NASA Artemis progress and plans earlier this year. Congress has provided (at best) lukewarm support - along with healthy skepticism as to the why and how of NASA's plans.

NASA needs to hit the ground running in January. There is no more schedule margin to burn. The sooner NASA provides a plan that is realistic - one that is not based on faith-based notional plans - the better the chance they will have to pull this off with the resources needed to make it happen. As for the contractor community: it is time for them to do what they are paid to do - on time - and knock off lobbying Congress for more money to do things that NASA is not asking for.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 17, 2019 2:25 PM.

NASA's Budget Forecast Is Looking Somewhat Better was the previous entry in this blog.

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