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SILVER SPRING, Md. — The National Space Council will likely press NASA at its upcoming meeting to speed up its plans to return humans to the moon as the agency continues to study alternative approaches for the next flight of its Orion spacecraft.
Scott Pace, executive secretary of the National Space Council, said March 21 the need for urgency in NASA's return to the moon will be a theme of the council's next meeting March 26 in Huntsville, Alabama. That meeting, announced March 20, will include two panels of experts who will weigh in on the status of those plans.
Space - Sector - Spaceflight - Sense - Urgency
"Our civil space sector, especially human spaceflight, I think needs a greater sense of urgency," Pace said in a luncheon speech at the American Astronautical Society’s Goddard Memorial Symposium here. "We're looking to the vice president to providing guidance on that charge at the next meeting." Vice President Mike Pence chairs the council.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced March 13 that the agency is looking at alternatives to the Space Launch System for flying Exploration Mission (EM) 1, the next uncrewed flight of the Orion spacecraft that will test the spacecraft on a mission around the moon. Bridenstine said that the reason for looking at the possibility of using commercial launch vehicles for that mission was to keep it on schedule for mid-2020.
Pace - Study - Slam - Boeing - Contractor
Pace said that study is "absolutely not a slam" on Boeing, the prime contractor for the core stage of the SLS, whose difficulties have led to the risk of further delays in EM-1. "What it is meant to say is that we need to keep our schedule commitments, and that we're absolutely deadly serious about keeping those commitments to keep the American people engaged, to keep our stakeholders engaged, and keep our partners engaged."
NASA is also working with Boeing to look...
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