The existing NASA program was looking to land people on the Moon in 2028 and have now renamed it Artemis and push the date up to 2024.
NASA recently confirmed that it will continue with its mission to land on the Moon, the Artemis mission through the development of its Gateway spacecraft, despite lack of funding as well as the SpaceX Dragon Crew mishap, thanks to the help of its international partners. Reportedly, the upcoming mission will be a joint effort between various countries including the Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency, to combine their resources to develop the various components of the Gateway spacecraft.
NASAWatch.com editor Keith Cowing said he's pretty sure the NASA Moon mission 2024 will be run by Johnson Space Center.
"In terms of human space flight, I honestly don't see any change in the role of Johnson Space Center in managing this program as they currently do with the space station, as they do with shuttle, as they do with Apollo and so forth," said Cowing.
He said NASA will look to Boeing and Space X to launch crews to the international space station, (this has already been done with cargo), there will be a strong private sector and commercial component.
Cowing said it's still early in the game.
"I'm pretty sure, more or less, this thing will be run by Johnson. They haven't assigned the Center roles and responsibilities, yet. You know, who builds the lander and so forth," said Cowing.
He added the big difference between today’s Artemis and her mythological brother, Apollo, from 50 years ago is a focus to accelerate the program.
Cowing said we went to the Moon for totally different reasons. Now, we're trying to accomplish the program in a much shorter time frame where political support needs to be maintained only for a few years, not decade.
The plan needs an initial down payment of $1.6 billion, out of tens of billions of dollars. Cowing said the question is if the program can survive the 2020 presidential election.
“It's not about the rocket science, it's about the political science,” quipped Cowing.
While Trump is expected to keep it afloat, a different administration could pull the plug on the program.
Cowing said NASA, as an agency, and the folks at Johnson Space Center have to sit, like watching a tennis match and adapt their daily tasks to a changing target at any given moment.