The US space agency NASA has announced its Artemis program’s plan. The plan involves landing the first woman and the next man on Moon. The agency wants to make this happen in 2024. NASA’s top executive Jim Bridenstine said that Moon is within America’s reach, adding that the Artemis program is well on its schedule. The estimated cost of the program has been pegged at USD 28 billion. NASA said it will spend around USD 16 billion on the lunar landing module. The agency said that Congress needs to sign on the financing of the project. The USD 28 billion will cover 2021-25 budgetary years.
NASA said that its projects and work often face political risks. The risk increases before every Presidential election. This time again, NASA fears that the Artemis program could face the heat. But it is hopeful of a breakthrough given that the program has been set up by outgoing President Donald Trump as a top priority. Jim said that NASA wants Congress to approve USD 3.2 billion by end of 2020. This will put the agency on track for its 2024 target. Notably, Barack Obama had annulled the NASA’s plans for a manned mission to Mars. Obama argued that his predecessor had already spent billions to execute the project.
According to Jim, NASA is not going to land astronauts on the South Pole of the Moon. He said there is no discussion about the landing site within the agency as he ruled sites of the Apollo landings. The lunar lander is currently under progress. It will fly two astronauts to the Moon. Jim said that there are three different projects that are in competition. The first one is developed by private aerospace company Blue Origin. The two others are developed by SpaceX of Elon Musk, and Dynetics. The Artemis 1 mission will be unmanned. It will be launched in November 2021. Artemis II will take off in 2023. It will not land on Moon’s surface, but take astronauts around it. Artemis III will land on Moon with two astronauts. It will stay on the Moon for a week.