How much will the Moon plan cost? We should know in two weeks


A man in a suit speaks into a microphone in front of a large image of a spacecraft.

Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine gives keynote remarks at the Space Symposium on April 9, 2019. (credit: NASA)

A little more than three weeks have passed since Vice President Mike Pence tasked NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine with returning humans to the Moon by 2024. Since then, the Oklahoman has been hotfooting around the country to build support—testifying before Congress, huddling with White House budget officials, speaking at major space conferences, and, this past weekend, visiting his alma mater, Rice University.

During the visit to Houston Saturday, Ars met with Bridenstine to talk about these efforts. We discussed his biggest concern at present, which is building political momentum to fund the plan. This involves developing an amendment to President Trump’s Budget Request for fiscal year 2020, that will seek additional funding for the accelerated Moon program. Realistically, Bridenstine said, this amendment will be ready “by the end of the month.”

This is a critical document, as the White House will only really have one chance to get this request right if NASA is to have a realistic chance of making the 2024 goal. To begin funding lunar lander development, design new spacesuits, and make related plans, this new funding must arrive at the start of the fiscal year on October 1, and Bridenstine realizes this will only happen with a broad political consensus.

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Source:: Ars Technica

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