In spite of appearances and a presidential tweet hinting otherwise, the U.S. is “100%” devoted to taking astronauts to the moon in 2024 and forming a sustainable, long-term presence there as a stepping stone to concluding piloted flights to Mars, Mike Pence—Vice President of the U.S.—said in an interview to CBS News. He also asserted the government strongly backs continued advancement of the SLS (Space Launch System) heavy-lift booster, developed by Boeing and managed at NASA’s MSFC (Marshall Space Flight Center), Alabama and the Lockheed Martin-made Orion crew capsule that would take astronauts to the moon.
NASA expects to liftoff the first unmanned test flight of an Orion capsule and an SLS rocket in 2021, years later than earlier planned. While Pence stated the Trump government stays committed to the rocket’s development, he cautioned the administration will turn to other suppliers if NASA’s “conventional” contractors cannot deliver. In an interview, Pence said to CBS News, “The SLS is behind schedule, and it is expensive. But the truth is that as the start of the SLS program, many governments have underfunded it and have not given the attention that it justifies.”
Recently, NASA was in news as Maxar is set to install pollution sensor on the commercial satellite. Maxar Technologies intends to install a NASA sensor to track air pollution across North America on a commercial communications satellite planned to travel into geostationary orbit in 2022, Maxar and NASA announced in recent time. Al Tadros—VP of Space Infrastructure and Civil Space at Maxar—said to SpaceNews that the company officials were speaking with many customers regarding flying the payload but have not yet inked a contract with a communications satellite administrator to install the TEMPO (Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring Pollution) on a specific satellite.
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