Currently NASA is developing its plans of accelerating the return of humans to the moon’s surface. Amid these efforts, international partners have been left pondering on their possible roles in this effort, if at all any. NASA has not yet outlined its approach of meeting the goals that had been announced back on March 26 in a speech given by Mike Pence, the US Vice President. Pence had spoken about the landing of humans on moon’s South Pole in the span of the next five years.
As per reports, the agency is working internally, at least on an approach rooted at the highest level to attain this goal. It has plans of beginning to share the details with the concerned authorities at the White House, which will include the Budget and Management Office this week. This move can potentially lead to the finalization of the revised request for budget, which is expected to look for quite a few more billion dollars for the fiscal year of 2020 alone.
According to the statement made by Jim Bridenstine at the 35th Symposium of Space, the agency will be pursuing an approach divided into two phases, which would primarily focus on speed. Bridenstine is currently employed as the Administrator at NASA. This approach can be expected to put to use lunar landers, the Orion, System of Space Launch as well as some lunar Gateway version.
However, international partners have privately expressed concerns regarding the effect these accelerated plans may have on their schedule as well as their capability of contributing to this exploration effort, owing to the delay or potential or elimination of contributions such as the Gateway modules. In particular, this is a burning issue for the member states of the ESA. The agency is working hard to get a nod for its part in this exploration program and they aim to do so at the ministerial meeting to be held in Spain in November this year.