NASA needs $3 billion for lunar lander or 2024 Moon mission in jeopardy

Administrator addresses US senators on Capitol Hill

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Jim Bridenstine said if an immediate $3 billion is not appropriated for the Human Landing System, NASA’s goal to get back to the Moon by 2024 would be at risk.

The lunar lander only received about 20 percent of full funding in a House spending bill passed in July.

“NASA has had a history of seeing programs get developed and then canceled,” Bridenstine testified. “The sooner we get the appropriations, the higher the probability for success.”

If the federal government does give the Artemis program full funding right now, NASA will have to lobby again for all the money it wants every year until the goal is reached.

“Space has generally always been a very bipartisan effort and that’s encouraging and needed now more so than ever,” Dale Ketcham of Space Florida said.

Ketcham made those comments considering this year’s unprecedented challenges.

“In addition to being an election year, we’ve also been smacked in the teeth by the virus and the virus seems to have set every schedule and budget back,” Ketcham said.

A growing commercial market in space could help NASA’s plans become cheaper and happen faster.

Former Florida Gov. and current Sen. Rick Scott is now a member of the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

“I became governor back in 2010 and the space industry was in pretty shape then,” Scott said. “I just want to thank NASA for their commitment to using the private sector to do things.”

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