According to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, the lunar mission is just a starting for something big. He said in a statement at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington, DC, “We’re going to the moon because we want to get to Mars with humans.” This all happened after Donald Trump asked Congress to release more fund for sending astronauts to the moon.
The budget that came out in March mentioned $21 billion in which $10.7 billion were allotted for the “Exploration Campaign”. In the budget which is finalized also includes then the lunar mission of 2028 before which the plannings and arrangements have to made for sending humans to Mars.
The president wants to send astronauts to the moon by 2024 which is a lot of pressure to handle in such a tight budget. The spacecraft is going to be developed by the private companies as the proposals are due from March 25, NASA is supposed to use the reusable facilities which are in working as they are: a surface outpost, and what is being called the Lunar Gateway – a proposed office, laboratory and living space intended to orbit the moon.
NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier said in NASA staff meeting, “NASA employees that are there can reach back into the agency and pull in computational fluid dynamics, they can pull in more resources, etc to help these small companies move forward, so we can truly partner, We’re building off what we’ve done with commercial cargo [and] what we’ve done with [the] commercial crew.”
Eric Salwan director of Commercial Business Development for Firefly Aerospace told the news, “We think that’s good, and in general we support the acceleration of the lunar program.” He added, “The CLPS [Commercial Lunar Payload Services] program has [also] been accelerated.” Recently, the agency released the fund of a total $69 million to Elon Musk’s SpaceX for launching the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission in 2021.