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The Artemis program is progressing while dealing with budget constraints and inflation

NASA's associate director for exploration systems development (manned flights), Jim Frey, provided updates on the progress of the Artemis program in an interview with the science website

Jim Frey, NASA's associate director for exploration systems development (manned flights), at the 18th Ilan Ramon conference in Tel Aviv. Photo: Avi Blizovsky
Jim Frey, NASA's associate director for exploration systems development (manned flights), at the 18th Ilan Ramon conference in Tel Aviv. Photo: Avi Blizovsky

"The Artemis program is progressing while dealing with budget constraints and inflation," says NASA's Associate Director for Exploration Systems Development, Jim Frey, in an interview with the Hidan website that took place during the 18th Ilan Ramon Space Conference this week in Tel Aviv.

Frey spoke about the current status of Operation Artemis after the successful completion of Operation Artemis 1 “After the landing of the Orion spacecraft on the Artemis 1 mission, we removed the heat shield and now we are testing the performance of the cabin during re-entry into the atmosphere. The electronics boxes that were used during the mission are being refurbished and will be embedded in Artemis 2 with all the necessary life support systems."

In response to the question of what the nanosatellites (cubesats) that were launched together with the Artemis mission and sent into orbit around the moon discovered, Fry answered: "The cubesats were a collaboration between NASA and various researchers at international and American universities. Only some of the satellites worked. Beyond that I don't know yet, the data is being studied by the scientists who sent it."

When asked about the current progress of the Artemis program after the cancellation of two previous programs to return to the moon, the last of which was the Constellation program announced by President George W. Bush and canceled in 2010 by the Obama administration due to budget and schedule deviations, Fry said that the first time he rode Launched and reached the moon and back. Previous programs started on the same trajectory but never reached the stage of launching to the moon. He attributes the slow progress to political (lack of) will, funding and the difficulty of the task.

Inflation threatens the space program

In response to the question of whether you are not afraid that you will be stopped again, but this time because of inflation, Fry also talked about the challenges facing the Artemis program, including inflation and the rising cost of raw materials. "Inflation has affected the supply chain and raised the cost of everything they purchase. Despite these challenges, Fry stated that as long as they stay within a reasonable budget, they should be able to continue the momentum. He emphasized the importance of carrying out each of the elements of the mission on time and within the budget in order to maintain political and financial support."

Despite the challenges, Frey believes the Artemis program is not slowing down. They still aim to reach the moon in 2024 with Artemis 2 and in 2025 with Artemis 3. However, he also noted that if the mission becomes too expensive or if they miss the schedule, it could halt the plan.

What about the moongate and why would it be unmanned most of the time?

"Moon Gate is a planned space station that will orbit the moon and serve as a center for human and robotic exploration of the lunar surface. The project is a collaboration between NASA and international partners, including the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Moongate will serve as a staging area for astronauts, spacecraft and equipment as they prepare for missions to the lunar surface."

"One of the main goals of the Moon Gate is to support sustainable human exploration of the Moon. Its establishment will include the development of a landing system on the moon and the establishment of a permanent human presence on the moon. The gate will also provide a platform for scientific research, including the study of the moon's surface, interior and surroundings. This research will help us better understand the formation and evolution of the Moon, and may also lead to new discoveries about the history of the Solar System and the early stages of life on Earth.

"Another important aspect of the Moon Gate is its potential to serve as a stepping stone for future missions to Mars and beyond. By establishing a presence in lunar orbit, we will be able to test and refine technologies and systems that will be critical to deep space missions. This includes life support systems, radiation protection and propulsion systems. In addition, the gate will provide a safe haven for astronauts in the event of an emergency, such as a problem with their spacecraft or unexpected "weather" conditions on the moon."

The Moongate will be built in several phases, with the first components scheduled to be launched as early as 2024. The initial components will include a power and propulsion element, a habitat module, and a logistics module. Over time, additional modules and capabilities will be added, such as a robotic arm, a docking port for visiting spacecraft and an airlock for spacewalks.

According to Frey, the reason the moon gate will not be permanently manned is our ability to build enough spacecraft to supply and launch humans (SLS launchers, Orion spacecraft and a special version of SpaceX's Spaceship spacecraft designed for flights between the moon and the station, etc.) for more than one launch per year.

"The Lunar Gateway project has received significant support from the international community, and is seen as an important step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon and beyond. The project will require international cooperation, innovative technology and significant investment, but it has the potential to bring us one step closer to fulfilling our dream of exploring the universe and discovering the universe's secrets. The gate will help us better understand our place in the universe and pave the way for a bright and exciting future of space exploration."

We are moving towards a permanent stay on the moon in 2028

In conclusion, Frey said that the Artemis program is progressing well, despite the challenges facing NASA. Fry believes that as long as they deliver the mission components on time and on budget, they should be able to overcome the challenges and achieve their goal of sending astronauts back to the moon. NASA is taking all necessary steps to ensure that the Artemis program stays on track and achieves its goals of sustainable lunar exploration by 2028.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

2 תגובות

  1. Error correction: in Rocket-Lab's Neutron program it is not planned to land the second stage at all. It is planned to land only the first stage, but to build the second stage as cheaply as possible (so much so that it will be inserted inside the first stage and will not have to deal with the loads resulting from the passage through the atmosphere).

  2. The interesting things in the development of rocket technology and launching into space are going on elsewhere.

    Here is just another place, one of several, and not one of the most well-known of them:

    His uniqueness: he plans a two-stage missile, where it will be possible to land both the first stage and the second stage. Currently, no company has succeeded in landing the second stage, and most of them are not even trying (except for SpaceX with the Starship, and Rocket-Love with the Neutron).

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