SAN FRANCISCO: the United States has the advanced technology and the workforce that you need for exploring space. However, it does not have the focus and prioritization that assured the success of the Apollo program, Apollo's flight director, Gene Kranz, told senators on July 9.
"We have an administration that supports the space and is willing to provide resources," Kranz said on July 9 at a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on trade and transportation. "We have an agency to do the mission, high level leadership and a very capable workforce. But each of the segments is divided philosophically in the target." Without a larger unit, the program of # 39; space exploration of the United States "will be based," he added.
Kranz was one of the NASA veterans and industry leaders who discussed the Apollo program and the benefits and challenges of future audition missions: "NASA Exploration plans: where have we been and where are we? . "
NASA plans to return astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon in 2028 through the Artemis program. To achieve these goals, NASA will need 1.6 billion dollars of additional funding by 2020 and about $ 4 billion in additional to $ 6 billion per year above current funding levels, according to Mary Lynne Dittmar, president and director Coalition general for the exploration of deep spaces.
"Although funding increases are always a political challenge, it is worth noting that the benefits of ten times that amount in adjusted dollars invested in the Apollo program are evident to all and are the foundation of both the current national effort as the growing business sector, "Dittmar said.
One of the important advantages of Apollo was its impact on the workforce of the United States, said to the jury Christine Darden, former communications and education director of the NASA Langley Research Center. In the same way, Artemis could ask students to seek professional careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, said Darden, a mathematician, data analyst and retired aeronautical engineer.
"Unfortunately, after finishing Apollo, there was a decrease in the number of students who graduated in STEM areas," said Darden. "A prosperous and visible Artemis program will do much to inspire the next generation to pursue STEM races."
Dittmar said that future space exploration missions will also have important geopolitical ramifications.
"There is no longer a race on the Moon with the Soviets, the United States leadership in space depends on creating a foundation that provides other nations and a rising space economy with security and guarantee as regards our national intentions and the Long-term commitment to aspire, inspire and achieve – in short, lead the exploration of human space and the development of space, "Dittmar said. "If we do not do it, make sure someone will do it. Space is still a strategic and competitive domain among the nations."
The Space Launch System, the Orion crew vehicle and the Exploration Soil Systems form "the foundation on which national goals in the deep space exploration of people will rest for the future "said Dittmar. "As in the development of military capabilities, these are long-term national assets that remain as a guarantee against economic recession, changes in policies and as a message to the global community."
Eric Stallmer, president of the Federation of commercial space flights, suggested that future US space activities may vary from those of the Apollo season, based more on the innovation of commercial enterprises.
Infrastructure in low terrestrial orbit, operational elements of future lunar missions and most of the elements of the architecture needed for Mars missions should be commercialized or developed with the industry through programs such as the program of Commercial orbital transportation services, a public-private partnership to deliver freight to the international space station, said Stallmer.
"NASA must specify clear, high-level and results-based requirements and allow entrepreneurs to innovate and create affordable and basic capabilities to essentially satisfy all operational needs," he told the committee. "And NASA has to pay results, not efforts in all development programs, but rather the most esoteric technical challenges. NASA should, wherever possible, grant various agreements on spatial law financed, competitively selected, to partners Commercials who want to provide private capital at their own risk. "
If NASA adopts this model of partnerships and competencies, the space agency will no longer pay for the "costly micromanagement and bureaucracy" of the typical contracts awarded by the Federal Buying Regulation, said Stallmer.
Homer Hickam, former NASA engineer and author of "Rocket Boys", suggested to the United States another approach to reducing the cost of space exploration. The United States should return to the Moon and "set up a store to use its mineral wealth and discover everything there is", including possible evidence of life. "We will find a lot of glacial water on the Moon and there will be tests of life," said Hickam.
While applauding the essential elements of the Artemis program, Hickam said that NASA's lunar program "must have meaning for the American people both financially and philosophically." If US taxpayers agree to pay the initial cost of future lunar missions, they should know that the lunar exploration will finally pay more than herself, he said. "The riches of the Moon should be gathered to boost our economy and, therefore, to put money in the pocket of all Americans," Hickam said.