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    NASA Administrator Statement on Return to Moon in Next Five Years

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    The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Tuesday’s announcement by Vice President Mike Pence, at the fifth meeting of the National Space Council, about putting American astronauts back on the Moon in the next five years:

    “Today, I joined leaders from across the country as Vice President Mike Pence chaired the fifth meeting of the National Space Council. Vice President Pence lauded President Donald J. Trump’s bold vision for space exploration and spoke to NASA’s progress on key elements to accomplish the President’s Space Policy Directives.

    “Among the many topics discussed during our meeting at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, was to accelerate our return to the Moon:

    • NASA is charged to get American astronauts to the Moon in the next five years.
    • We are tasked with landing on the Moon’s South Pole by 2024.
    • Stay on schedule for flying Exploration Mission-1 with Orion on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket next year, and for sending the first crewed mission to the lunar vicinity by 2022.
    • NASA will continue to ‘use all means necessary’ to ensure mission success in moving us forward to the Moon.

    “It is the right time for this challenge, and I assured the Vice President that we, the people of NASA, are up to the challenge.

    “We will take action in the days and weeks ahead to accomplish these goals. We have laid out a clear plan for NASA’s exploration campaign that cuts across three strategic areas: low-Earth orbit, the Moon, and Mars and deeper into space.

    “I have already directed a new alignment within NASA to ensure we effectively support this effort, which includes establishing a new mission directorate to focus on the formulation and execution of exploration development activities. We are calling it the Moon to Mars Mission Directorate.

    “Earlier today I was also at Marshall Space Flight Center for an all-hands to reinforce our commitment to SLS with the workforce. We discussed my recent announcement that NASA would consider all options to fly Orion around the Moon on schedule. I shared the analysis we conducted to assess flying the Orion on different commercial options. While some of these alternative vehicles could work, none was capable of achieving our goals to orbit around the Moon for Exploration Mission-1 within our timeline and on budget. The results of this two-week study reaffirmed our commitment to the SLS. More details will be released in the future.

    “There’s a lot of excitement about our plans and also a lot of hard work and challenges ahead, but I know the NASA workforce and our partners are up to it. We are now looking at creative approaches to advance SLS manufacturing and testing to ensure Exploration Mission-1 launches in 2020. We will work to ensure we have a safe and reliable launch system that keeps its promise to the American people.

    “I know NASA is ready for the challenge of moving forward to the Moon, this time to stay.”

    To learn more about NASA’s Moon to Mars plans, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/moon2mars

    On March 26, 2019 the United Space and Rocket Center hosted a meeting of the National Space Advisory Council. The meeting was chaired by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence with remarks by members of the Council including NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

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    c e voigtsberger
    c e voigtsberger
    3 years ago

    I don’t know about mining the asteroid belt, but I do know that current medical diagnostics are the direct result of the space program.

    I was able to attend seminars held at the Rockwell Science Center in the early 70s where the subject matter was highly experimental studies on nondestructive testing techniques.

    It is important in the aerospace industry to find defects in parts before fatal propagation. One way, of course is to remove the part after so many hours of in-service life and cut it apart to see if any defects are present and if they have propagated. That’s called destructive testing and as you might imagine, it is expensive from both the loss of the part and the time consumed in it destructive examination.

    A more refined test is to examine the interior of the part without cutting it apart? Well, just how does one go about that. At that time, before the techniques were extant in the medical field, scientists were exploring techniques called magnetic resonance imagine. You might know it as the familiar MRI exam. Another technique was ultrasonic wave propagation. If you have had an ultrasound exam, you are benefitting from the aerospace industry’s efforts to locate defects and cracks before things like wings falling off or landing gear inexplicably collapsing as the plane sits in the revetment.

    Of course we are all familiar with x-rays and we have the aerospace industry to thank for advances in x-ray technique including 3D images.

    What is the take-away? Money spent on space exploration has benefits for us earth-bound humans equal to or greater than the direct cost of such exploration. It would be good to see such programs resumed.

    On a cautionary note, however, I would rather see private industry pursue such efforts rather than another bloated governmental agency such as NASA where you have positions with a title like “Assistant Deputy Administrator.” That’s three levels of paper shufflers when the job in all likelihood should be handled with just one paper shuffler and a secretary.

    Tom Baldwin
    Tom Baldwin
    3 years ago

    Man belongs in space. It is our future. We need permanent bases on both the Moon and Mars. We should also be considering ways we can get to the asteroid belt to do our mining, instead of here at home.

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