Important Artemis Questions Will Be Answered Today (Update)

Keith's note: Last week Jim Bridenstine suggested that landing at the south pole of the Moon might not be in the cards for Artemis III. A few days later HEOMD AA Kathy Lueders did not give a clear answer when asked. The obvious questions will be "Will Artemis III land at the lunar south Pole? Will the Artemis III mission land before the end of 2024? When will the SLS Green Run Test happen?"

Oh yes there's a NASA hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday: "Hearing to conduct oversight of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's budget and activities"

NASA Publishes Artemis Plan to Land First Woman, Next Man on Moon in 2024, NASA

"Following a series of critical contract awards and hardware milestones, NASA has shared an update on its Artemis program, including the latest Phase 1 plans to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon in 2024."

Keith's update: The update issued today by NASA makes no mention of the Artemis III landing site. The press release that announced the report makes no mention of the lunar south pole all together. But Jim Bridenstine was rather blunt today saying that Artemis III will will land at the lunar south pole. Full stop. Apparently someone tweeted something about something from the LEAG meeting last week and someone tweeted something else and ...

I asked a question that went roughly like this: "When Gateway was first announced lunar landings were still planned for 2028. Then last year things got moved up by 4 years to 2024. Yet after more than a year NASA is still not exactly sure what Gateway will or will not do or when these things will happen - especially with regard to the first human landing mission. "Sustainable" means different things to different people - to some it is funding to others it is engineering. The House seems to think it means funding. The more you delay Gateway, the more people are going to question why you even need it. When will you know exactly how Artemis III will be conducted?"

I got some meandering responses from Jim Bridenstine and Kathy Lueders which can be distilled down to "since NASA has chosen the private sector to do the whole 2024 lunar landing system thing NASA does not actually know how their astronauts will land on the Moon. Good? Bad? We'll soon see."

The House only gave NASA $600 million toward the Human Landing System. NASA needs $3.2 billion. Bridenstine is hopeful that there will be a CR (continuing resolution) soon followed by an omnibus appropriations bill either at the end of this year or in March 2021 and that he hopes/expects that the full $3.2 billion for the HLS will be in there. While ever the optimist, he also said "if Congress keeps delaying the funding we will go the the Moon at the earliest possible opportunity."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 21, 2020 6:25 PM.

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