NASA announced Tuesday which agency centers will take responsibility for specific work to enable astronauts to explore the moon. The new assignments cover elements of the lunar lander and lunar surface operations. The agency also announced work assignments for Ares V, a heavy-lift rocket for lunar missions.
“NASA’s Constellation Program is making real progress toward sending astronauts to the Moon,” said Rick Gilbrech, associate administrator for Exploration Systems, NASA Headquarters, Wash. “Work on our new fleet of rockets and spacecraft, Ares I and Orion, is already well under way. With these new assignments, NASA will launch the next phase of its exploration strategy, landing crews and cargo on the surface of the moon.”
The Ares V and lunar lander assignments will ramp up in fiscal year 2011, with surface system assignments in fiscal year 2012. While these decisions will result in budget and personnel allocations at the centers, detailed estimates will not be available until after prime contractors are formally selected for the work.
Each center will have the opportunity for additional work assignments as Constellation Program elements become further defined.
“These work assignments are helping to shape a true constellation identity for each NASA center, which in turn will help the agency to foster the kinds of expertise needed to achieve our space exploration goals,” Gilbrech said.
NASA’s Constellation Program is working to send astronauts to the moon, where they plan to set up a lunar outpost to prepare for human exploration further into the solar system. The first crewed flight of the Orion spacecraft, aboard an Ares I rocket, is scheduled for no later than 2015. Astronauts will return to the moon by 2020.
A center-by-center breakdown of assignments is available on the web at: http://www.nasa.gov/constellation