NASA Administrator Jimen Bridenstein said Friday that the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama will serve as the headquarters for the US space agency's program to build a spacecraft to return astronauts to the moon by 2024.
Bridenstein published the announcement at the Alabama facility, accompanied by lawmakers from that state. The announcement, which means potential jobs and prestige for Alabama, disappointed Texas lawmakers who lobbied for a seat in their state.
"That landing system will take you outside the Marshall Space Flight Center right here in Huntsville, Alabama," Bridenstein said.
"Now, I will say, this was not an easy decision," Bridenstein added, explaining the city's history of Marshall, the Apollo lunar spacecraft half a century ago.
Lawmakers in Texas wanted to choose the Johannson Space Center in Houston.
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Companies, including blue-collar entrepreneur billionaire Effeph Bezos, Elon Musk's SpaceX and Lockheed Martin Corp., are developing various potential components of the lunar earthquake and will compete for NASA assets under competitive bidding later in the year. .
Bridenstein named Artemis in May and urged Congress to increase NASA's proposed fiscal 2020 budget, which begins Oct. 1, for $ 1.6 billion, much of which will be earmarked for seed commercial development. of the human lunar landing system.
The new lunar mission – an effort likely to cost $ 20 billion to $ 30 billion over five years – comes as NASA seeks, with the help of private partners, to rebuild human space missions from US soil for the first time since completing the space shuttle program. in 2011
Vice President Mike Pence announced in March an accelerated timeframe for NASA to set astronauts to return to the lunar surface by 2024, reducing half of the previous target to reach 2028.
President Donald Trump's own support for the mission is unclear. In June, the Republican president called on NASA instead to focus on "much larger" initiatives such as going to Mars, backing earlier support for the lunar initiative.