NASA proceeds with plans for crewed landing on the lunar south pole

The historic Apollo 17 mission to the Moon in 1972 encouraged NASA to continue inaugurating space exploration programs that aim to carry astronauts back to the lunar surface. NASA’s Artemis Moon landing program continues to assemble lunar lander modules from private space cooperation’s such as SpaceX and Blue Origin for the agency’s trip to the Moon by 2024. 

NASA’s fiscal year report indicated the agency’s strategies that included the funding required to implement Phase 1 of NASA’s Artemis Project, followed by the Artemis 3 project in 2024. NASA anticipates spending $28 billion from its five-year budgetary allocation starting from 2021 to 2025. The funding takes care of all the activities carried out by the Space Launch System, the Exploration Ground Systems, and the Human Landing System project alongside other efforts that foster technological enhancements and scientific study. The HLS takes up a substantial funding allocation because its space works calls for an expenditure of approximately $16.2 billion for five years. The request for funds is the most affected following the House’s endorsement of a bill for appropriations in July. The appropriation bill allocated $600 million to facilitate the program works for the 2020 fiscal year. The amount is just a fraction of $3.2 billion that NASA requested. 

Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s director, said that the $3.2 billion budgetary allocations are crucial for the implementation phase. NASA expects the House to allocate more adequate funds for the HLS program to facilitate its works. Bridenstine said that the program must receive full funding to maintain the progress and achieve the return-to-moon mission by 2024.

NASA instituted the Commercial Lunar Payload Service to facilitate a constant number of certified special service providers. The agency requested its private partners in the commercial space industry to manufacture numerous mockups for NASA’s Lunar landers. After the call publication, commercial space companies-initiated space programs to draw NASA’s attention to becoming a customer and potential investor. After NASA’s request to receive other scientific models and trial Moon lander modules, the agency plans to use them in 2022. The agency plans on using the payloads to pave the way for NASA’s Artemis Lunar landing program anticipated to launch in 2024. 

NASA conducted space technology innovation contests that seek to attract college and university students’ interest to help the agency tackle the problem with dust particles on the lunar surface. Dust obstruct camera lenses, interrupts equipment readings, leads to fluctuations in the thermal properties, and ultimate equipment failures. 

In conclusion, NASA’s space endeavors rely on the quick decision of the Senate to provide the necessary funding for the agency’s technology development geared towards achieving its objectives for space exploration.