NASA Has Invited Argentina’s Space Agency To Join the Artemis Moon Mission
July 23, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Argentine daily Perfil reported July 22 that NASA has invited Argentina’s National Space Activities Commission (CONAE) to participate in the Artemis mission to return to the Moon in 2024, and then moving on to further space exploration.
CONAE’s executive director Raul Kulichevsky met with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at the end of March, during which, Kulichevsky reported, Bridenstine emphasized the importance “of having a consortium of nations, rather than an individual effort by the United States,” to fulfill the mission. Although Kulichevsky said that talks are still in the preliminary stages, there are many options for CONAE’s participation, given its decades of experience and international prestige. NASA knows, and “we know,” Kulichevsky said, “that we can contribute” to Artemis, “which is much broader than just returning to the Moon.” The U.S. plan is to first establish itself on the Moon, to then go on to other planets, and it understands, he emphasized, that it’s difficult to do this alone. Thus, it’s trying to establish an alliance among different space agencies.
Argentine aeronautical engineer Pablo de Leon, professor of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota and director of the NASA-financed Manned Space Flight Laboratory there, told Perfil that “these missions are undertakings of all of humanity, not just of one country. NASA is interested in working with countries with common interests, as is the peaceful exploration of space, and I have no doubt there will be great interest in bringing Argentina into the project.” Argentina in the past turned down a chance to participate in the International Space Station, De Leon said, but “now we have a chance to participate in this new adventure of human exploration of the cosmos, and we can’t miss it.”
Dr. de Leon has worked on prototypes of bases that NASA intends to set up on the Moon, and has also designed the NDX-2 space suit that astronauts will have to wear on the Moon, the Canadian Great Lakes Ledger reported a year ago August. The new spacesuit—as of that writing there hadn’t been a new one designed for the Moon since 1977—must regulate humidity, temperature and pressure, so it’s as complex as a spacecraft itself, as it also holds communications systems and protects astronauts from radiation. The suits used by astronauts on the ISS, are “patched up” ones from earlier use, but are not suitable for use on the Moon, De Leon explained.
Dr. de Leon founded in 1987 the Argentine Association of Space Technology (AATE), and since 199, has organized twice yearly meetings of the Argentine Space Technology Congress.