NASA begins assembling Artemis space launch system
Margaret Weitekamp, curator at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum weighs in on NASA’s preparation for the future of American spaceflight.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday voiced support for NASA’s Artemis Program, which aims to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024.
Psaki during the press briefing Thursday told reporters that the U.S. government will “work with industry and international partners to send astronauts to the surface of the moon.”
“Another man and a woman to the moon, which is very exciting,” Psaki said, noting that, to date, “only 12 humans have walked on the moon — that was a half a century ago.”
All 12 were Americans.
Psaki said the Artemis Program would “conduct new and exciting science, prepare for future missions to Mars, and demonstrate America’s values.”
NASA published the Artemis Plan last year, which called for $28 billion for the moon program.
In 2019, NASA revealed details of its vision for the Artemis Moon Lander that will return American astronauts to the lunar surface.
“With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before,” NASA said. “We will collaborate with our commercial and international partners and establish sustainable exploration by the end of the decade.”
NASA WANTS HELP FROM COMPANIES TO DOCUMENT ITS RETURN TO THE MOON
NASA added: “Then, we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.”
Initial mission capability for 2024 involves landing two astronauts on the moon’s South Pole. Astronauts will live and work out of the lander for six and a half days, according to NASA.
Psaki’s announcement comes as she faced criticism this week for her comments about the U.S. Space Force, where she seemingly mocked a question from a reporter who asked whether President Biden would keep the scope of the Space Force.
Psaki, on Tuesday night, amid criticism, took to Twitter to note the “important work” of Space Force.
NASA DETAILS HOW $28B WILL BE SPENT TO RETURN ASTRONAUTS TO THE MOON IN 2024
“We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work,” she said.
And on Wednesday, when asked whether the Space Force has the “full support” of the Biden administration, Psaki said “absolutely.”
“They absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration,” Psaki said. “And we are not revisiting the decision to establish the Space Force.”
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“The desire for the Department of Defense to focus greater attention and resources on the growing security challenges in space has long been a bipartisan issue, informed by numerous independent commissions and studies conducted across multiple administrations,” Psaki continued, adding that “thousands of men and women proudly serve” in the Space Force.
Psaki added that the Space Force “was established by Congress and any other steps would actually have to be taken by Congress, not by the administration.”
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