NASA’s full Artemis plan revealed: 37 launches and a lunar outpost

Discussion in 'Science, Tech, & Space Exploration' started by nivek, May 22, 2019.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    NASA’s full Artemis plan revealed: 37 launches and a lunar outpost

    (click to enlarge image)

    In the nearly two months since Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return to the Moon by 2024, space agency engineers have been working to put together a plan that leverages existing technology, large projects nearing completion, and commercial rockets to bring this about.

    Last week, an updated plan that demonstrated a human landing in 2024, annual sorties to the lunar surface thereafter, and the beginning of a Moon base by 2028, began circulating within the agency. A graphic, shown below, provides information about each of the major launches needed to construct a small Lunar Gateway, stage elements of a lunar lander there, fly crews to the Moon and back, and conduct refueling missions.

    This decade-long plan, which entails 37 launches of private and NASA rockets, as well as a mix of robotic and human landers, culminates with a "Lunar Surface Asset Deployment" in 2028, likely the beginning of a surface outpost for long-duration crew stays. Developed by the agency's senior human spaceflight manager, Bill Gerstenmaier, this plan is everything Pence asked for—an urgent human return, a Moon base, a mix of existing and new contractors.

    One thing missing is its cost. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has asked for an additional $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2020 as a down payment to jump-start lander development. But all of the missions in this chart would cost much, much more. Sources continue to tell Ars that the internal projected cost is $6 billion to $8 billion per year on top of NASA's existing budget of about $20 billion.

    The plan also misses what is likely another critical element. It's not clear what role there would be on these charts for international partners, as nearly all of the vehicles could—and likely would—come from NASA or US- based companies. An international partnership, as evidenced by the International Space Station program, is likely key to sustaining a lunar program over the long term in the US political landscape.

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  2. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

    I know I make probably too many podcast recommendations but I listen to a hell of a lot of them while I am doing stuff. Yesterday I heard Edition 395 - Joe Pappalardo of The Unexplained With Howard Hughes
    The Unexplained With Howard Hughes Free Paranormal Podcast

    He's a writer for Popular Mechanics. Some good stuff in there about why we are interested in the Moon again, commercial space ventures and the like.
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