Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics Hearing: Developing Core Capabilities for Deep Space Exploration: An Update on NASA’s SLS, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems Wednesday, September 18, 2019
….I also want to echo Chairwoman Horn’s comment about the lateness of NASA’s testimony. NASA was provided ample advance notice of this hearing and more than sufficient time to prepare testimony and have it reviewed by OMB and whomever else looks over NASA’s testimony these days. The fact that this testimony is overdue is not only frustrating, it leaves Members little opportunity to consider NASA’s testimony in advance of the hearing. If NASA and the Administration can’t meet simple hearing deadlines, it doesn’t inspire great confidence in their ability to meet the much harder deadline of landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
By Nicole Quenelle NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center
MOJAVE, Calif., September 13, 2019 (NASA PR) — When Apollo 11’s lunar module, Eagle, landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969, it first flew over an area littered with boulders before touching down at the Sea of Tranquility. The site had been selected based on photos collected over two years as part of the Lunar Orbiter program.
But the “sensors” that ensured Eagle was in a safe spot before
touching down – those were the eyes of NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.
WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a $13.7 million contract to Advanced Space of Boulder, Colorado, to develop and operate a CubeSat mission to the same lunar orbit targeted for Gateway – an orbiting outpost astronauts will visit before descending to the surface of the Moon in a landing system as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — NASA cleared a milestone in preparation for Green Run testing of its Space Launch System (SLS) core stage with an Aug. 23/24 lift and installation of the core stage pathfinder simulator onto the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss.
The lift and installation of the core stage pathfinder – a size and weight replica of the SLS core stage – is helping teams at Stennis prepare for the Green Run test series.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA plans to land humans on the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis program. Before astronauts step on the lunar surface again, new technology instruments will study the surface.
NASA is engaging the university community for ideas to help achieve some of these activities through its annual Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge,
which is asking university teams to submit robust proposals for sample
lunar payloads that can demonstrate technology systems needed to explore
areas of the Moon that never see the light of day. The 2020 BIG Idea
Challenge is scaling up this year, with larger team sizes and more
funding that will allow for high fidelity concept development.
The Northrop Grumman built attitude control motor (ACM) on Orion’s launch abort system was successfully tested on August 22, at their facility in Elkton, Maryland.
The 30-second trial by fire was the second to last test before it’s qualified for human spaceflight on Artemis 2 — the first mission with astronauts. During the static test, the ACM
produced more than 7,000 pounds of thrust from eight valves, providing
enough force to steer Orion and its crew to a safe distance.
The launch abort system is designed to transport Orion and its crew to safety in the event of
an emergency during launch or ascent. It consists of three solid rocket
motors: the abort motor pulls the crew module away from the launch
vehicle; the ACM steers and orients the capsule; then the jettison motor
ignites to separate the launch abort system from Orion for parachute
deployment and a safe crew landing.
All three motors will be certified for future crewed flights after
qualification tests are completed later this year. The launch abort
system was stress tested earlier this year during the successful Ascent Abort-2 test.
These achievements brings Orion closer to safe flights with
astronauts, paving the way for the first woman and the next man to land
on the Moon by 2024.
In another major step toward landing American astronauts on the lunar surface by 2024, NASA is asking industry to respond to a Request for Proposals to deliver cargo, science experiments and supplies to the Gateway to support Artemis missions to the lunar surface. Commercial supply services will support the agency’s Artemis lunar exploration program which includes sending the first woman and
the next man to surface of the Moon within five years, and preparing for
human exploration of Mars.
Many of you know that I am not a big fan of President Donald Trump. But, occasionally I think he is capable of doing something smart.
One of those smart acts was to appoint Callista Louise Gingrich as
U.S. ambassador to the Holy See in Rome. The smart aspect has nothing
to do with her qualifications for the job, but rather what her
presence in Rome would spare the United States.
referring, of course, to getting her husband, former House Speaker
Newt Gingrich, out of the country. Unless the union has become a
sham, and he was hooking up with a mistress in the U.S. as he had
with Callista during marriage no 2, Newt would be out of the
headlines and out of everyone’s line of sight for long periods of
DEER PARK, Texas – Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36) issued the following statement in response to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s announcement today awarding the lunar lander program management to Marshall Space Flight Center.
“I am disappointed by the decision from NASA to not place the lunar lander program management at the Johnson Space Center (JSC),” said Babin. “Marshall Space Flight Center does tremendous work for our nation’s space program, but the knowledge base and skill set for this task unquestionably resides at JSC where the Apollo lunar lander program was successfully managed. Yesterday, I joined Senators Cruz and Cornyn in sending a letter to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine requesting that this decision be reconsidered.”
To view the letter sent to Administrator Bridenstine, pleaseclick here.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., August 16, 2019 (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was joined Friday by U.S. Representatives Mo Brooks and Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to announce the center’s new role leading the agency’s Human Landing System Program for its return to the Moon by 2024.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Dr. Lisa Watson-Morgan has been named program manager for NASA’s Human Landing System, tasked with rapid development of the lander that will safely carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon’s surface in 2024. That voyage, a critical milestone in NASA’s bold new Artemis Program, will pave the way for a long-term human presence on the Moon by 2028, reigniting America’s leadership in crewed exploration of the solar system and taking the next giant leap toward sending human explorers to Mars.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is set to speak at Marshall Space Flight Center on Friday where he is expected to announce that the Alabama field center will manage the lander being designed to land American astronauts on the moon by 2024.
Members of Texas’ Congressional delegation are urging Bridenstine to hold off on the decision.
U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) along with Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) today urged NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to reconsider his decision and refrain from an official announcement until an official briefing is held.
In a letter to Administrator Bridenstine, the lawmakers wrote:
“The Johnson Space Center has served as NASA’s lead center for human spaceflight for more than half a century. […] ‘Houston’ was one of the first words ever uttered on the Moon, and Houston, the city that last sent man to the Moon, should be where the lander that will once again send Americans to the lunar surface is developed. Accordingly, we request that you reconsider this decision, and hold off on any formal announcements until we can receive a briefing on this matter that includes the timeline, projected cost, and rationale for this decision.”
No word yet on whether the event will go on as scheduled at 3:10 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 16. The remarks will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
A press release and the letter sent to Bridenstine follow.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to a news report that NASA will designate the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to lead the development of the human-classed lunar lander for the Artemis program over the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas – which has served as NASA’s lead center for human spaceflight for more than half a century – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) along with Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) today urged NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to reconsider his decision and refrain from an official announcement until an official briefing is held.
In a letter to Administrator Bridenstine, the lawmakers wrote:
“The Johnson Space Center has served as NASA’s lead center for human
spaceflight for more than half a century. […] ‘Houston’ was one of the
first words ever uttered on the Moon, and Houston, the city that last
sent man to the Moon, should be where the lander that will once again
send Americans to the lunar surface is developed. Accordingly, we
request that you reconsider this decision, and hold off on any formal
announcements until we can receive a briefing on this matter that
includes the timeline, projected cost, and rationale for this decision.”
In 2018, Sens. Cruz and Cornyn sent a letter with Rep. Babin, and former Reps. John Culberson (R-Texas), and Lamar
Smith (R-Texas) requesting the Johnson Space Center be the location of
the new lunar lander program.
The follow-up letter to Administrator Bridenstine can be read here and below.
August 15, 2019
The Honorable James F. Bridenstine Administrator National Aeronautics and Space Administration 300 E. St. SW Washington, D.C. 20546
Dear Administrator Bridenstine,
We are writing to you today in light of a recent report that this
Friday, August 16, 2019, you plan to announce that the Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama will manage the development of the
lunar lander for the Artemis program and oversee the commercial
development of two of the three elements, the Transfer Element and
Descent Element, of that lander. According to that same report the
Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas, will oversee the commercial
development of only one of three elements, the Ascent Element. This is
very troubling if accurate.
While the Marshall Space Flight Center specializes in rocketry and
spacecraft propulsion, and is undoubtedly the leader in these areas, it
is the Johnson Space Center, which has been, and continues to be, ground
zero for human space exploration. We are deeply concerned that NASA is
not only disregarding this history but that splitting up the work on the
lander between two different geographic locations is an unnecessary and
a counterproductive departure from the unquestionable success of the
previous lunar lander program. The integration of development
responsibilities into one center-ideally the center with the longest
history and deepest institutional knowledge of human space
exploration-would be the most cost-efficient, streamlined, and effective
approach, and is the approach that NASA should pursue.
As you may recall, on August 28, 2018, we sent you a letter
articulating the reasons why the Johnson Space Center would be the most
appropriate home for the lunar lander program. In that letter, we
highlighted the Johnson Space Center’s storied history as the lead
center for human spaceflight and deep experience with human space
exploration, and expressed our strong desire that it be selected as the
NASA Center responsible for establishing and leading the lunar lander
program. While much has changed in the intervening year, our feelings on
this matter have not.
The Johnson Space Center has served as NASA’s lead center for human
spaceflight for more than half a century. It is home to our nation’s
astronaut corps, the International Space Station mission operations, and
the Orion crew, and the men and women working there possess both the
institutional knowledge and technical expertise needed to manage all
facets of the successful development of a lunar lander for the Artemis program. “Houston” was one of the first words ever uttered on the Moon,
and Houston, the city that last sent man to the Moon, should be where
the lander that will once again send Americans to the lunar surface is
Accordingly, we request that you reconsider this decision, and hold
off on any formal announcements until we receive a briefing on this
matter that includes the timeline, projected cost, and rational for this
Please contact Duncan Rankin at 202-224-5922, Andrew Cooper at
202-224-2934, and Steve Janushkowsky at 202-225-1555 with any questions
regarding this request. Thank you for your prompt attention to this
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, joined by U.S. Representatives Mo
Brooks, Robert Aderholt, Scott DesJarlais and Brian Babin, will discuss
updates on the agency’s plans for landing humans on the Moon by 2024
through the Artemis program at 3:10 p.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 16. The remarks will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
From the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Bridenstine will discuss the center’s role in
launching astronauts to the Moon and landing them safely on the lunar
surface. Brooks, Aderholt, DesJarlais and Babin also will deliver
remarks, then join the administrator to take questions from the media.
In addition to making this announcement, Bridenstine will view
progress on SLS and other efforts key to landing the first woman and the
next man on the Moon in five years.
For more on NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, visit: