Within the next five years, the u.S. Wants to send astronauts to the moon again, including a woman, according to vice president mike pence.
"The first woman and the next man on the moon will both be american astronauts who lifted off american soil on american rockets," pence said tuesday at a meeting of the national space council in huntsville (u.S. State of alabama). An outpost should then be set up on the moon as a base for a planned mars mission.
"It’s the right time for this challenge, and i’ve assured the vice president that we – the people at nasa – are ready for the challenge," nasa chief jim bridenstine responded to the unveiling of the plans.
In view of delays in the development of the new SLS (space launch system) launcher, the vice president accused nasa in his speech of a lack of commitment and bureaucratic tragedy. The rocket had originally been scheduled to make an unmanned test flight in 2017, but after problems with its development, the date was pushed back several times. Bridenstine now named the coming year for a first test flight, in 2022 the rocket should then for the first time bring humans close to the moon and back. Creative approaches are being sought to advance construction and testing of the SLS, bridenstine said.
Pence has no doubts about the 5-year plan for a manned landing on the earth satellite: failure is not an option. If nasa can’t do it now, it’s the organization that needs to change, not the plan. And if necessary, commercial partners will be used to achieve the goals: "if commercial rockets are the only way to get american astronauts to the moon in five years, then it will be commercial rockets," pence said.
He compared the situation with the 1960s, when the USA and russia competed for supremacy in space. There is currently a comparable race in space – "only that the stakes are even higher today". Pence mentioned china, which recently caused a stir with the first landing of a probe on the lunar surface.
In 2011, the USA discontinued its space shuttle program, which had flown US astronauts into space for decades. Since then, the americans have had to use russian soyuz rockets to fly their astronauts to the international space station.
U.S. President donald trump had initially shifted the focus of U.S. Space travel from mars back to the moon. The last time US astronauts from the "apollo 17" mission landed there was in 1972.
At the beginning of march, a US astronaut vehicle docked with the ISS for the first time, albeit unmanned: the "crew dragon" is being developed by the private american company spacex owned by tesla founder elon musk. The test flight, according to nasa, was about making sure the spacecraft and its systems functioned as designed before a crew was put on board. After about a week in space, the space capsule returned to earth