Urgent Mobilization Required To Ensure Funding for Artemis Moon-Mars Mission!
Sept. 25, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Artemis Moon-Mars program to land the first woman on the Moon in 2024 is in very immediate danger. The needed $1.6 billion for the first year has already been denied by the House, and now cut in half by the relevant Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.
Senate Appropriations meets on Sept. 26. Anyone who believes in this program, who has a Senator on Appropriations, must be on the phone with him or her Thursday morning to get the full $1.6 billion restored—and then, later, on the phone with the negotiators from both houses to the same end.
NASA Administrator James Bridenstine has said that he will not move money from one program to another against Congressional intent—so, unless the $1.6 billion is restored now, this may be the end of Artemis.
The Senate bill increases NASA’s budget to $22.75 billion, which is $1.25 billion more than NASA got in FY19 which ends on Sept. 30, and $435 million more than the White House requested. It restores funding for programs the administration cut, such as the Education Office, a couple of Earth science missions, and the advanced upper stage for the Space Launch System. As the House appropriations bill has no funding for Artemis, a compromise will have to be reached. The long pole in the tent for the 2024 deadline is the manned lander, which without adequate funding could not be ready in time.
The Artemis mission is already a bare bones architecture, and it is the lander that will be in trouble without the necessary support.