NASA and its Japanese counterpart confirmed this week their intent to cooperate on lunar exploration, including Japanese roles in the lunar Gateway and human lunar landings.
A Senate appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill Sept. 24 that would provide $22.75 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2020, including much, but not all, of what the agency sought in additional funding for the Artemis program.
NASA signed an agreement with its Australian counterpart Sept. 21 to cooperate on NASA’s Artemis program as Australia seeks to further boost its space industry.
Members of a House committee expressed skepticism about NASA’s reliance on commercial launch vehicles to carry out human lunar landings by 2024 rather than an upgraded version of the Space Launch System.
A House version of a stopgap spending bill does not include any special provisions for NASA, which threatens to delay work on lunar landers needed for the agency to achieve its goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024.
Efforts by space agencies and companies to send missions to the moon and use water ice and other resources there have renewed debate about the international legal regime regarding such resources.
Members of a NASA safety panel praised the agency for moving ahead quickly with aspects of its Artemis program to return humans to the moon, but warned about perceptions of a leadership vacuum for that effort.
Despite a strong public endorsement of NASA’s efforts to return humans to the moon as a step towards Mars, a series of recommendations approved by the National Space Council Aug. 20 highlight concerns about the agency’s plans to do so.
Nearly five months after directing NASA to accelerate its plans to return humans to the surface of the moon, Vice President Mike Pence said Aug. 20 that the agency’s efforts since then were “on track.”
NASA’s renewed effort to return humans to the moon draws inescapable parallels to Apollo a half-century ago.
The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said July 24 he’s not yet convinced of the need to accelerate a human return to the moon, citing the cost of doing so.
As NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first crewed landing on the moon, the agency released new details about how it will procure landers to enable humans to return to the moon in the 2020s.