Biden White House Backs NASA’s Project Artemis Human Moon Landing Goal

Biden White House Backs NASA’s Project Artemis Human Moon Landing Goal
Artists concept of NASA Project Artemis program to land astronauts on the lunar surface is supported by the new Biden Administration and confirmed by White House statement but with few details. Credit: NASA

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –  The Biden White House backed NASA’s Project Artemis goal of landing humans on the Moon  in a recent briefing by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in the most detailed comments about the new Administrations strategy regarding space exploration – although few details or timelines were specified.

NASA’s current goal of landing the first woman and next man by the end of 2024 is both extremely ambitious and highly doubtful due to the failure of the U.S. Congress to fully fund the agencies $3 Billion request to kickstart development of a human lunar lander in the FY 2021 budget submitted under former President Trump.

As a result NASA has delayed a decision on selecting a contractor for the Human Landing System (HLS) lunar lander from the 3 US companies who were awarded NASA study contracts.

Nonetheless encouraging words from  White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week strongly supported NASA’s Project Artemis.

“Through the #Artemis program, the United States government will work with industry and international partners to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon,” said  White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Feb. 4 in response to a reporters question.

NASA’s goal is to send the first woman and next man to land on the moon at the South Pole on the Artemis 3 mission.

No human has set foot on the Moon since the Apollo 17 moon landing mission in Dec. 1972 – the sixth and last time humans set foot upon Earth nearest neighbor nearly 5 decades ago.

“[Artemis] will conduct new and exciting science, prepare for missions to Mars, and demonstrate America’s values. To date only 12 humans have walked on the Moon – that was half a century ago”, said Psaki.

“The Artemis program, a waypoint to Mars, provides exactly the opportunity to add numbers to that, of course. Lunar exploration has broad and bicameral support in Congress, most recently detailed in the FY 2021 Omnibus spending bill – and certainly we support this effort and endeavor.”

The recent FY 2021 spending bill passed by Congress approved a NASA budget of $23.3 Billion. While fully funding  the Space Launch System Moon rocket and Orion deep space capsule, it only allotted about 1/3 of what NASA requested for the Human Landing System (HLS) effort program – $850 million for vs the $3.3 billion request.

3 U.S companies are vying for the HLS contract :  Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX. They  were selected by NASA to start design and development of human landing systems for Artemis astronauts to land on the Moon starting in 2024.

So that was an increase from FY 2020 – but not nearly enough to achieve a 2024 lunar landing on Artemis 3.

3 U.S companies – Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX – were selected by NASA to start design and development of human landing systems for Artemis astronauts to land on the Moon starting in 2024. Credits: NASA

Psaki’s endorsement of Artemis is also in line with the Democratic Party platform which stated:

“We support NASA’s work to return Americans to the moon and go beyond to Mars, taking the next step in exploring our solar system,” the Democratic Party platform stated.

 

Here are the complete remarks from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Feb. 4.

“Kristen … asked a great question about the Artemis program – which I dug into and I am very excited about it now to tell my daughter all about it. So .. for those of you who have not been following it as closely, through the Artemis program, the United States government will work with industry and international partners to send astronauts to the surface of the Moon – another man and a woman to the Moon – which is very exciting, [It will] conduct new and exciting science, prepare for missions to Mars, and demonstrate America’s values. To date only 12 humans have walked on the Moon – that was half a century ago. The Artemis program, a waypoint to Mars, provides exactly the opportunity to add numbers to that, of course. Lunar exploration has broad and bicameral support in Congress, most recently detailed in the FY 2021 Omnibus spending bill – and certainly we support this effort and endeavor.”

NASA also recently selected a core group of 18 astronauts to train for Artemis missions as announced in Dec 2020 by then NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

The 18 members of NASA’s Artemis Team, from top left to bottom right: Joe Acaba, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Matthew Dominick, Victor Glover, Woody Hoburg, Jonny Kim, Christina Koch, Kjell Lindgren, Nicole Mann, Anne McClain, Jessica Meir, Jasmin Moghbeli, Kate Rubins, Frank Rubio, Scott Tingle, Jessica Watkins and Stephanie Wilson. Credit: NASA

Artemis 1 is slated to liftoff NET late 2021 on the first SLS rocket  on an uncrewed flight around the Moon.

Biden has yet to announce a selectio for  new NASA Administrator.

Psakis confirmation of President Biden’s support for Project comes on the heels of the request of the new incoming Biden White House for a 3.9 Billion Year Old NASA Apollo Moon Rock to be placed on display in the Oval Office as of Inauguration Day Jan. 20, 2021 “and confirms the powerful support of President Biden “for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach” – namely Project Artemis.

In symbolic recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments, and support for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach, a Moon rock now sits in the Oval Office of the White House. At the request of the incoming Biden Administration, NASA loaned the Moon rock that was put on display in the Oval Office Jan. 20, 2021. It is from the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Credit: NASA

The Apollo 17 moon rock display is a fitting start to President Biden’s support for NASA and science at the dawn of his four year term in the Oval Office – and serves as a truly heartening signal to space enthusiasts world-wide as the agency seeks to land the first woman and next man on the lunar South Pole as soon as the end of 2024 on the Artemis 3 mission.

The irregularly shaped Moon rock was provided by NASA and collected during the Apollo 17 moon landing mission in Dec. 1972 – the sixth and last time humans set foot upon Earth nearest neighbor nearly 5 decades ago.

 

“A reminder of our @NASAArtemis pledge to return to the Moon now sits in the Oval Office. Learn more about the lunar sample on loan to the @WhiteHouse: https://go.nasa.gov/2LTUdOv,” NASA tweeted.

 

 

In 1972, the Apollo 17 crew returned to Earth following a successful 12-day mission. Apollo 17 marked the final crewed lunar landing mission. Here, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan approaches the parked Lunar Roving Vehicle. Credit: NASA

 

Meanwhile NASA continues full speed ahead with Project Artemis and development and construction of the SLS Moon rocket and Orion deep space Crew Module.

The second Green Run test of the SLS core stage for Artemis 1 is scheduled for late February

NASA plans to conduct a second Green Run hot fire test NET late February 2021 after a premature end to the Space Launch System rocket core stage coming alive during the first Green Run hot fire test on Jan. 16 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Credit: NASA

Assembly of the Orion Crew Module for Artemis 1 is complete and it rolled out for propellent loading in Jan 2021 at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

NASA Orion Artemis 1 crew capsule is assembly complete in Jan. 2021 during visit to NASA Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The SLS SRB boosters for Artemis 1 are currently being stacked inside the VAB at KSC.

NASA is also proceeding ahead with construction of the Gateway mini lunar orbiting space station for human crew visits.

 

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Artemis and NASA missions, SpaceX, Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, Demo-2, ISS, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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