"NASA is committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent", he said. More recently, scientists have detected water molecules on Moon using data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
According to Amanda Hendrix, a Planetary Science Institute senior scientist and lead author of the new paper, the existence of lunar water will be critical for future missions because this could cut the costs needed to launch a mission given that they would no longer need to carry or export such resource from Earth.
At present, Orion does not have the capability to dock with anything in orbit.
One of the tasks will be to examine "space weathering".
The new plan would consist of first launching the Orion capsule, and then follow it with the launch of an upper stage for propulsion.
That scenario isn't a slam-dunk. That outfitting would have to be completed between now and next year, Bridenstine noted. "We do not right now have the ability to dock the Orion crew capsule with anything in orbit", Bridenstine said, "so between now and June of 2020 we would have to make that a reality". "Here's the glory of the USA of A. We have an awesome capability that exists right now that we can use off the shelf to accomplish this objective".
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Monico added that Trump, though, "publicly dangled the possibility of pardons when commenting about ongoing investigations". But Republicans were already calling for an investigation before the discrepancy over the pardon came out.
Bridenstine said the decision on whether to proceed with the shift could be made in the next couple of weeks.
"NASA has a history of not meeting launch dates, and I'm trying to change that", he said.
Bridenstine noted this option might require more money from Congress.
And while the NASA Administrator, who was appointed by President Donald Trump past year, did not name a specific astronaut he said the agency is "committed to making sure that we have a broad and diverse set of talent".
A green run test involves firing the rocket's engines on a ground-based test structure rather than actually launching the rocket. New Budget Defers Funding of New Space Launch System One of the casualties of the 2020 budget is the development of an upgraded SLS known as Block 1B version. 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. NASA wants to have the Gateway up and running by 2024.
He did not say which private company he had in mind, but SpaceX would be a natural candidate with its Falcon Heavy rocket.
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