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NASA Leader Calls for Support from Industry for Moon Exploration

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Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator and a Wash100 winner, called on other nations and the private sector to help the U.S. to return humans to the lunar surface in 2024, Space.com reported Tuesday. He said NASA could meet the mission’s schedule, but the agency needs partnerships outside the government to help reduce its financial burden.  

“Putting humans on the moon in 2024 is not an America-alone effort,” Bridenstine said at the 35th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado. “We need all of our international partners. In fact, none of us can do what we want to achieve alone.”

Some countries already expressed interest in contributing technology and hardware for the NASA Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway that will serve as the space station in moon’s orbit. The European Space Agency and Japan’s space agency, JAXA, intend to provide lunar landers and life-support systems.

Bridenstine said funding would be the biggest challenge NASA will face in sending astronauts back to the moon. NASA is making changes in its 2020 budget request to adjust plans designed for the lunar mission’s original 2028 schedule. 

“The plans that we laid out for 2028 are the same plans that we’re going to use to get to the moon in 2024. We’re just going to have to move forward some of our investments, but it’s all achievable,” Bridenstine said.