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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Aug 2, 2005 23:59:18 GMT -6
US To Send Manned Flight To The Moon By 2018: Report
The United States plans to send four astronauts to the Moon by 2018, as a first step toward an eventual mission to Mars, according to NASA documents published by a US newspaper.
The plan also foresees crews building a lunar outpost, complete with living quarters and a power plant, and scavenge the desolate landscape for fuel and water aboard high-tech dune buggies, the Orlando Sentinel daily said.
The space travelers would blast off on rockets derived from the space shuttle, but would parachute back to Earth in capsules similar to those used in the Apollo program that landed the first man on the Moon.
The Moon missions would be a precursor to 500-day expeditions on Mars, the paper said, citing a study that it said would be made public next month.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jan 5, 2006 2:30:55 GMT -6
Leading the Way Back to the Moon
(Jan 4, 2006) The centerpiece of NASA's Vision for Space Exploration is the new spacecraft that will carry astronauts to the moon, Mars and beyond. Jeff Hanley, appointed as Constellation Program manager in October, discusses the development of the new Crew Exploration Vehicle, the role of the International Space Station, and the path of the 'Vision".
Jeff Hanley was only 8 years old on July 20, 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, but he can recall every detail of that day and all the specifics of that historic mission. Each of the Apollo missions to the moon made such a big impact on Hanley that space exploration became his life's passion, ultimately becoming his profession. Now, Hanley has been appointed to lead NASA's new program to return astronauts to the moon and prepare to send human expeditions to Mars.
The new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), while reminiscent of the Apollo blunt-body capsule, is three times larger with the capacity to carry four astronauts to the moon. It also has the ability to dock with the International Space Station, and the same crew vehicle will eventually carry astronauts to Mars. The separate lunar module will be able to land anywhere on the moon, including the poles, unlike the Apollo spacecraft that could only land near the equator. Initially, crews will stay up to 7 days on the moon's surface.
"Apollo's purpose was to send a man to the moon and return him safely to the earth," Hanley said. "We go a substantial step beyond that with this architecture in terms of the capacity to deliver large amounts of mass to the moon and that's really sending the signal that we're serious about exploration and serious about coming to stay." Developing a sustained presence on the moon will be the ultimate goal of the lunar missions, to demonstrate that humans can survive for long periods of time on another world.
Instead of launching the entire system at once, the CEV and the lunar module launch separately. "In NASA shorthand we call it the 1.5 launch solution," Hanley said. "The big heavy booster brings the lunar module and the upper stage to orbit and we'll follow it with the crew launch vehicle, which launches on a smaller rocket, and the two vehicles will rendezvous and dock. Then we'll light the Earth departure stage and send it on the way to the moon.