NASA boss says first person on Mars will 'absolutely' be female

This LRO image shows areas of potential frost on the moon's surface

He said NASA is committed to a broad and diverse set of talent, "and we're looking forward to the first woman on the moon". While NASA is optimistic about the budget, it spells significant delays and terminations for a number of the agency's projects, including the development of a new Space Launch System. He apparently was referring to 2014, when a Delta IV Heavy rocket built by United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Ala., launched a test Orion capsule on a four-hour experimental trip around Earth.

The new plan would consist of launching the Orion capsule, and then following it up with the launch of an upper stage for propulsion.

That's where the Space Launch System, or SLS, comes in. "The goal is to get back on track", Bridenstine told a Senate committee. That outfitting would have to be completed between now and next year, Bridenstine noted.

"This is 2019", Sen. Wicker added: "I'd sure like to keep us on schedule". As a result, the Administrator noted that this approach would require at least two launches of heavy-lift vehicles. "In fact, it's like to be a woman, the first next person on the moon", he said.

A subsequent flight, EM-2, would launch with the SLS in 2023 and carry crew members.

Here's how these water molecules work: They remain bound to the regolith until lunar noon when the moon's surface temperatures tend to peak.

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The agency is now exploring options for meeting that deadline using "commercial capabilities", Bridenstine said. The proposal specifically identifies the Europa Clipper mission which received $600 million for commercial launch services with a targeted launch date in 2023.

According to the European Space Agency, "the Gateway will offer a platform for scientific discovery in deep space and build invaluable experience for the challenges of future human missions to Mars". EM-1 was originally scheduled for December of past year and previously in 2017.

To meet that deadline, the administrator said he has tasked the agency to look into how to accomplish the June 2020 deadline.

It also directs NASA to move toward commercializing the International Space Station by 2025. SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy for the first time previous year from Kennedy Space Center and is preparing for the first contracted Falcon Heavy launch this spring. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education.

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