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Zubrin-Hickam: Send the SpaceX Dragon to the Moon

25 Jun 2020, 13:19 UTC
Zubrin-Hickam: Send the SpaceX Dragon to the Moon
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By Robert Zubrin & Homer Hickam, Washington Post, 06.22.20The success last month of the SpaceX Dragon’s flight to the International Space Station was the first time in nearly a decade that Americans traveled into space aboard an American vehicle launched from U.S. soil. That is important, but we think the flight actually means even more. This commercially developed spacecraft has given our nation the means to carry crews to the moon — and perhaps beyond — much faster and cheaper than has ever been envisioned. Shouldn’t we take advantage of it?

In March 2019, Vice President Pence challenged NASA to land astronauts on the moon by 2024 “by any means necessary.” This was a potential breakthrough, because after nearly 50 years of drift, the White House was finally giving NASA’s human spaceflight program a concrete goal with a clear timeline and forceful support — a necessity for any progress and the restoration of the agency’s can-do spirit. The purpose for the mission itself is a blend of economic, scientific and world leadership goals designed to make the investment worthwhile to all Americans.

NASA’s response to Pence’s challenge was to proceed with what it already had in the pipeline: the Orion ...

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