NASA reveals funding needed for Moon program, says it will be named Artemis

The Trump administration's lunar plan finally has a price. Sort of.

Enlarge / The Trump
administration’s lunar plan finally has a price. Sort of. (credit:
NASA)

NASA revealed Monday that it needs an additional $1.6 billion in
funding for fiscal year 2020 to stay on track for a human return to
the Moon by 2024. The space agency’s budget
amendment
comes in addition to the $21 billion the Trump
administration asked Congress for in March.

In a teleconference with reporters on Monday evening, NASA
administrator Jim Bridenstine said the budget amendment was a “down
payment” on what will be needed in future years to fund the
program. “In the coming years, we will need additional funds,” he
said. “This is a good amount that gets us out of the gate.” He and
the other NASA officials on the call would not say how much that
would be.

Two people familiar with NASA’s internal deliberations say the
agency has estimated that it needs as much as $6 billion to $8
billion a year for a lunar return by 2024. (Bridenstine has said
the amounts will not be this high). These funds would be needed to
design and build a lunar lander, accelerate the Space Launch System
rocket so that it can perform three launches by then, design new
spacesuits, build elements of the Lunar Gateway, and for related
programs.

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NASA reveals funding needed for Moon program, says it will be named Artemis