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NASA announces future roadmap for manned Moon missions
NASA has big plans for the Moon missions.
NASA seems to be gearing up to send humans back on the Moon by 2028. This will be the first time in five decades that a human will be sent to the Moon. The first unmanned demonstrations will take place in 2024 and 2026, said Jim Bridenstine, NASA chief.
Bridenstine laid out NASA's plan to support the development of commercial hardware that will be able to ferry astronauts to the Moon, reports GeekWire. "This time, when we go to the Moon, we're actually going to stay," he said. "We're not going to leave flags and footprints and then come home, to not go back for another 50 years."
The plan that has been documented under the moniker Broad Agency Announcement suggests commercial ventures to propose concepts for a descent module, a space refueling system and a transfer vehicle by March 25.
In May this year, the space agency will be selecting several companies for an initial six-month period to research and develop for the mission and will allocate up to $9 million to each firm, GeekWire reported.
Based on the progress made during the initial phase, two companies would be picked to build hardware for a series of demonstration missions. The hardware would then be launched aboard NASA's Space Launch System which will be built in lunar orbit in the early 2020s, the report said.
The first demonstration mission is slated for 2024 where an unmanned descent module for the Gateway will be sent to the lunar surface. The second mission will take place in 2026 which will also be an unmanned demonstration of the descent module and an ascent module to get back from the Moon to the Gateway.
The first manned mission will take flight in 2028, using the same three-element infrastructure. NASA plans to keep four astronauts on the moon for as long as seven days.