Vice President Mike Pence has instructed NASA to land Americans on the Moon within the next five years. That was the headline from the latest National Space Council meeting this week.
These words will require action and an influx of additional funding to stand a chance of becoming a reality. However, an overriding abstract behind the bold words is to put the Space Launch System (SLS) on notice that it cannot really afford any more schedule slips; more so, it needs to advance its launch dates.
“All of this has happened before and it will happen again”:
Bold changes to the direction of NASA’s deep space aspirations are by no means uncommon.
Specific to NASA’s departure from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in the final years of the Space Shuttle, NASA’s Vision For Space Exploration (VSE) called for a Moon, Mars and Beyond roadmap as outlined by President George W. Bush in 2004
This became NASA’s Constellation Program (CxP) that centered around the Orion crew capsule – with an initial capability to launch crews to the International Space Station (ISS), an Ares I crew launcher and an Ares V Heavy Lift – Cargo Only – Vehicle.
Ares I – with Orion ...