The Trump administration wants to put Americans back on the moon by 2024, Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday at a meeting of the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama.“The first woman and the next man on the moon will both be American astronauts launched by American rockets from American soil,” he pledged. It’s an audacious pledge, given NASA’s current capabilities, and especially in light of recent setbacks to the Space Launch System (SLS), the agency’s long-delayed and over-budget heavy lift rocket. If NASA faces difficulties with that timeline, Pence said, “We need to change the organization, not the mission.” How this will affect NASA’s wide host of other goals, from astrophysics to education, remains unknown.
Why the Lunar South Pole?
NASA doesn't have a plan for getting back to the moon quick though.
NASA is studying how to accelerate the SLS. Boeing's reaction. SLS might be doomed: the budget hinted as much. Lawmakers and industry went to bat for the SLS though.
The SLS team has been advertising its progress. SLS engine section has reached a milestone. The SLS core went through structural tests. Lockheed has begun assembling structures for the second SLS flight.
NASA Administrator says nothing is off the table. He had proposed flying Orion on commercial rockets. There was serious pushback. He defended his position.