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Editorial (or me, jumping the gun): NASA is not an exploration agency

7 Aug 2019, 22:41 UTC
Editorial (or me, jumping the gun): NASA is not an exploration agency
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Above: Three of the unmanned lunar lander designs from NASA's CLIPS program. Image courtesy of NASA.I like to keep things short, be they bitter or sweet. I'm gonna offer up my opinion - but! It's a premature opinion based on some thing happening that seem likely but haven't actually yet come to be. Specifically...The money needed for NASA's goal of a 2024 manned lunar landing either won't materialise or will be culled from other parts of its existing budget.Commercial spacecraft will start flying humans to LEO by the end of 2020.SpaceX's super heavy lift 'Starship' rocket will fly within two years.Some of the small, unmanned, commercial lunar landers under the CLIPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) project will have a series of successful test flights by 2022.Bigger, crewed, commercial lunar landers will start to take shape. Due in part to it's fairly small price tag CLIPS will survive the next change in administration.A credible plan for on orbit propellant depots will emerge and the newspace companies will start to build on it, solely with their own money if needs be. We will see a private lunar landing (unmanned) by 2024Next to all this seeming rapid progress the traditional Apollo style NASA ...

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