President's NASA Budget Funds Moon-Bound Space Station

A new budget has cut funding for the upgraded Block 1B variant of NASA's SLS rocket

While Bridenstine did not identify a specific person, he said that women are at the forefront of the U.S. space agency's upcoming plans. That's why it's "a critical piece of what NASA needs to build", Bridenstine told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Could the Mars astronaut of the future be one of these girls?

If satellites have been able to identify rocks and minerals that haven't even been collected yet just from orbit, who knows what we'll find when we finally put boots on the moon again.

The White House's proposed 2020 fiscal year budget seeks to shelve the development of an upgraded version of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS).

The agency also said that both the female astronauts were part of the 2013 astronaut class and a lot of them were women.

Bridenstine says two commercial rockets would be needed, one to launch the Orion capsule and its European-built service module, the other to launch an upper stage. Bridenstine also mentioned the "amazing capability that exists right now" in the US, and that means only two commercial possibilities: SpaceX and United Launch Alliance.

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United Launch Alliance is a joint venture of Lockheed and Boeing. But the agency is just now "understanding how hard this project is and that it is going to take some additional time", he said, adding that second launch of Orion with a crew should still belong to SLS.

In fact, he said the next person on the moon is also likely to be a woman. "So between now and June of 2020, we would have to make that a reality", Bridenstine said.

Originally, NASA wanted to launch this lunar mission, called EM-1, on the Space Launch System. The goal is to have an outpost with astronauts near the moon to serve as a stepping-off point for lunar landings.

But the SLS program has been beset with years of delays and has billions of dollars in cost overruns. The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration and its member companies strongly support forward-leaning efforts to speed human return to the Moon. "If asked, we can provide a description of the capabilities of our launch vehicles for meeting NASA's needs, but acknowledge that these do not match the super heavy lift performance and mission capabilities provided by SLS for the Exploration Missions proposed by NASA".

"NASA has a history of not meeting launch dates, and I'm trying to change that", he said.

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