WASHINGTON — While the administration continues to work on a revised budget request for carrying out the new goal of landing humans on the moon in 2024, the technical plan for doing so is starting to take shape.
In a presentation at a joint meeting of the Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board here April 30, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, outlined the agency’s current thinking about how it could land people on the moon in 2024, albeit in a minimalistic approach.
“We’re off building that plan, and it fits on paper,” he said. “But I will tell you it is not easy and it is not risk-free.”
The approach, as he described, would require three launches of the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket and Orion spacecraft, starting with the uncrewed Exploration Mission (EM) 1 mission already in development. That mission has suffered delays because of problems assembling the core stage of the rocket, specifically its engine section, and Gerstenmaier said the agency was taking steps, such as horizontal integration of the core stage elements, to recover some schedule.
Gerstenmaier said NASA was still considering whether to carry out the “green run” ...