Bridenstine addesses SLS and Orion workforce at NASA
by Jim Bridenstine - NASA Administrator
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 14, 2019
On March 14, 2019, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine sent this message to NASA employees and contractors:
Yesterday, I was asked by Congress about the schedule slip of the Space Launch System and plans to get NASA back on track. I mentioned that we are exploring the possibility of launching Orion and the European Service Module to low-Earth orbit on an existing heavy-lift rocket, then using a boost from another existing vehicle for Trans Lunar Injection.
Our goal would be to test Orion in lunar orbit in 2020 and free up the first SLS for the launch of habitation or other hardware in 2021. This would get us back on schedule for a crewed lunar orbital mission in 2022 with the added bonus of a lunar destination for our astronauts.
We are studying this approach to accelerate our lunar efforts. The review will take no longer than two weeks and the results will be made available. Please know that NASA is committed to building and flying the SLS for the following reasons:
+ Launching two heavy-lift rockets to get Orion to the Moon is not optimum or sustainable.
+ Docking crewed vehicles in Earth orbit to get to the Moon adds complexity and risk that is undesirable.
SLS mitigates these challenges and allows crew and payloads to get to the Moon, and eventually to Mars, safer and more efficiently than any temporary solution used to get back on track.
I believe in the strength of our workforce and our ability to utilize every tool available to achieve our objectives. Our goal is to get to the Moon sustainably and on to Mars. With your focused efforts, and unmatched talent, the possibility of achieving this objective is real.
earlier related NASA report
President Trump's Fiscal Year 2020 NASA budget is one of the strongest on record for our storied agency. In keeping with Space Policy Directive-1, it provides for the foundation of a national exploration campaign that will use the experience of the NASA workforce, coupled with the agility and innovation of our commercial and international partners, to create an architecture that is open, sustainable and agile. This unified effort will inspire generations and change the course of history as we realize the next great scientific, economic and technical achievements in space.
The 2020 NASA budget supports a sustainable campaign of exploration, returning humans to lunar orbit and then the surface of the Moon, and eventually embarking on human missions to Mars and other destinations.
In low-Earth orbit, our Commercial Crew program remains strong and will soon be delivering American astronauts, on American rockets, from American soil to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011. The successes of our commercial and international partnerships on the International Space Station are now serving as the foundation for moving deeper into space.
For the first time in a decade, NASA has a budget for pursuing activities on the lunar surface. We have called on American companies to help design and develop human lunar landers and reusable systems for surface activities. The Space Launch System and Orion, critical components of our exploration architecture, will reach important milestones in construction and testing this year, and our new lunar command module, the Gateway, will see international and commercial partnerships solidified and construction begin.
With this budget, we will initiate the first round trip mission to the Red Planet with a Mars sample return mission, and many of the technological advancements we achieve moving forward to the Moon will provide critical data and capabilities for future robotic and crewed Mars missions. NASA is positioned to provide American leadership across each of these key destinations, empowering industry and the international community to move off the Earth in a unified, collaborative way.
As this Administration places a priority on human exploration, the whole of NASA benefits with robust budgets and synergy across our mission directorates. We will continue to pursue transformative aeronautics technology as we develop the next generation of aircraft and make air travel safer and more efficient. We will increase our understanding of our home planet and move out on ambitious programs to study the far reaches of our solar system and beyond.
Through the leadership and investment of this Administration, the world will participate together in civilization-changing discoveries and achievements.
The fiscal year 2020 NASA budget is strong. We will explore, discover and inspire, and all of humanity will benefit from our efforts.
Microlaunchers to grow Europe's economy
Paris (ESA) Mar 12, 2019
A flourishing small satellites market is driving demand for new ways to access space. Recent industry feasibility studies backed by ESA for new microlauncher services, are creating new business opportunities. ESA intends to strengthen European industry by fostering a globally competitive European space sector with increased industry participation in launcher development. As part of this, ESA's Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) funded five proposals from industry for an economical ... read more
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