Members of the US Congress are concernedthat the NASA aerospace agency has not yet provided data on how much the United States would cost the idea of returning the man to the moon in the next five years. The corresponding document describing the expected financial costs should have been ready by mid-April, but officials from the US space agency said that it would take several more weeks to finalize and approve all the details.
March 26, Vice President Mike Pence duringMeeting of the National Space Council turned to NASA with the task of returning Americans to the Moon by 2024, which marked a significant change in the timing for the space agency, which planned to carry out the return of man to Earth satellite in 2028th. Then Pence noted that NASA has a plan that will speed up the preparation for the resumption of the lunar program, the details of which the head of the space agency Jim Brydenstein made public just five minutes before the speech of Pens himself.
However, Pence did not go into these details andsince then information about them remained unknown. On April 2, Brydenstein at a meeting of the Scientific Committee of the House of Representatives said that NASA is preparing amendments to the presidential budget request, which will include the approximate cost of lunar flights and details of preparation for these missions. On whether the agency will have time to prepare these documents by April 15, Braidenstein replied that the agency “will try very hard”.
As a result, more than three weeks have passed since April 15. And the other day, members of the Scientific Committee of the US House of Representatives expressed their concern over the fact that the amendments to the space agency have not yet been submitted for analysis and approval.
“The absence of a plan does not allow our countryresume the moon's research program, ”commented Kenda Horn, an American politician, during yesterday’s meeting of the committee on deep-space exploration plans by NASA.
"NASA has been given a clear taskdevelop and prepare a plan, which will indicate the budget and details of the project of the lunar exploration, but Congress has not yet seen this data, ”Horn added
The politician demanded from representatives of the agency to answer why the relevant documents are not yet ready.
"We understand that this is a very serious task,William Gerstenmeyer, NASA mission manager for space exploration, took the floor from us.
“We need to make sure that everything is assembled and integrated in such a way that it makes sense,” a NASA representative added.
Gerstenmayer noted that the forthcoming amendmentshould still get White House approval, which in turn can also slow down the process. However, he stressed that the details would be provided to Congress soon.
“We need a few more weeks. Perhaps one or two weeks for final preparation, ”he added.
NASA Head Brydenstein at Senate hearing onsaid last week that the cost of a new lunar program will not exceed $ 8 billion, as stated in earlier reports. However, they did not convince politicians of these words, and they demanded to give more exact figures that Congress should expect to see in the NASA request.
“At this point in time, this issue is still under discussion,” added Mark Sirangelo, a lunar program assistant at NASA at the same hearing.
Up to today, officialsAerospace Agency voiced only general information about how the agency plans to accelerate the preparation of the lunar program, in order to meet the new deadlines announced by the US government. Obviously, to a greater degree NASA plans to use for this purpose the developments and equipment that it planned to use in the mission to the Moon, which was originally planned for 2028. For example, for this purpose, a new super-heavy rocket, Space Launch System, is being developed, as well as the Orion spacecraft, which will deliver American astronauts to the new near-moon Space Station Gateway. In addition, the agency will need new manned landing modules that will be used to disembark people from the station on the satellite surface and return them back.
The head of the agency Brydenstein noted that all these technologies will be required for a quick return to the moon, so NASA will focus on getting everything ready faster.
“The first for us is speed. We want to return to the moon as quickly as possible, ”said Brindenstein at the Space Symposium meeting in April of this year.
Details on exactly how the agency is goingto speed up preparations for the resumption of flights to the moon, as well as questions about the cost of this whole event should be reflected in the NASA amendment, which is not yet ready.
As it turned out, this is not the only and possiblenot even the main problem. Politicians inquired from NASA whether the agency had space suits suitable for lunar missions, to which Brydenstein replied that it was necessary to develop new ones, but first it was necessary to understand the tasks that would be laid down as part of the first mission to the satellite.
“Based on this, we will develop suitable spacesuits,” he noted.
Thus, even when preparing a planthere is still uncertainty about the entire lunar program. Any budget amendment requests submitted by NASA and the White House for the plan to send a man to the moon in 2024 must be approved by Congress, and its representatives have already been disappointed by such “general responses” from the space agency.
"We have a White House directive to sendman on the moon for five years, but there is no plan, there is no budget and details on how to do this, there is no convincing comprehensive roadmap for deep space research, which firmly sets out the tasks that will most effectively achieve a more distant goal - to land man to mars. We are actually flying blind, ”lament American politicians.
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