NASA budget request includes ISS ‘Space Duck’ plans

NASA is paying attention Artemis Lunar ProjectIts Moon to Mars OBJECTIVES, AND MAINTENANCE Being in low earth orbit As part of the agency’s proposed budget for 2024. The space agency has a new item on its annual wish list: a space tug to orbit the International Space Station (ISS) at the end of its life.

On Monday, NASA detailed its allocated budget for 2024 Published Last week, it provided more details about where that money is going. President Joe Biden expects a $27.2 billion budget for the space agency next year, a 7% increase from last year and more funding for NASA’s future missions to the moon.

During a call with reporters, NASA Chief Financial Officer Margaret Vo Schaus highlighted key priorities for the budget, such as establishing a presence on and around the Moon, developing a new program to maneuver the ISS and launching samples from the surface of Mars. In the early 2030s.

NASA’s proposed budget includes $180 million to develop deorbit capability for the ISS by the end of 2030. If the budget is approved, the space agency will call Private sector to come up with a space tug concept to lower the ISS’s orbit so it can re-enter and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA had earlier suggested using Russia’s Progress cargo space shuttle to replace the ISS orbit. And apparently that option is still on the table.

“Our current model is still being used [the Russian spacecraft] And we continue to work with our Russian colleagues on how to safely circulate with Progress vehicles. Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for space operations, told me call “But we build this U.S. The capability is a way to better assist in the termination and targeting of the vehicle and the safe return of the vehicle.”

Lueders estimated the total cost of the space shuttle would be about $1 billion, with the requested $180 million to begin the program for the space agency in the coming year.

However, NASA’s Artemis program remains at the top of the space agency’s to-do list, taking $8.1 billion from the budget (up from $7.5 billion last year). NASA still has plans to land humans on the moon as early as 2025. Lunar GatewayAn outpost orbiting the moon would accommodate astronauts and scientific research.

The budget request would allocate $2.5 billion SpAce Launch System (SLS) rocketIt was used to boost the Artemis 1 mission in November 2022, “to focus on the successful completion of Artemis. 2, And do the necessary preparations for Artemis 3 and 4, including improved upper stage configuration and other upgrades,” Schausz said during the call.

NASA also wants to grow more Its Moon to Mars program is a proposed idea to use the moon as a testing ground to eventually land humans on Mars. “I want to highlight that our Moon-to-Mars objectives include the sustained acceleration of basic applied and scientific, lunar and planetary science, physics, physical and human biological sciences,” Schausz said. “This includes conducting science and data collection by a robotic probe of Mars.”

Following the same objective, NASA is also focusing on it A sample return mission to Mars To bring back rock samples currently stored by the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. $949 million has been earmarked for a future mission to launch samples from the Martian surface as early as 2030, up from $800 million originally earmarked for the mission the previous year.

NASA’s Mars Sample Return Mission receives a piece In total funding for science, this adds up to $8.26 billion in the 2024 budget. Some of the missions highlighted as part of the budget include the James Webb Space Telescope, the Nancy Grace Roman Telescope (scheduled to launch in 2027), and the Europa Clipper mission to explore Jupiter’s moons (scheduled to launch in 2024). ExoMars Mission.

ExoMars, a collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and its Russian counterpart, was due to launch this year. The mission suffered an unfortunate delay Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. ESA has cut ties with Russia, and NASA may help launch the rover by 2028.

Based on the 2024 budget, NASA wants to maintain its low Earth orbit presence (at least until 2030), establish a presence on and around the Moon, and possibly send humans to Mars in the future. The proposed budget appears to be a stamp of approval for the space agency’s ambitious plans. We hope Congress will see the same.

Further: NASA will soon reveal who will fly to the moon for the Artemis 2 mission

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