NASA -- The head of the NASA administration, Jim Bridenstine, announced that the Marshall Space Flight Center of NASA located in Alabama will be housing the spacecraft to be used for the agency's attempt to bring the first woman to the moon. By 2024, NASA hopes to be able to send another delegation to the moon. This time, the team will be including a woman who will make history happen.
Bridenstine made this announcement while on the grounds of the Alabama facility. Several lawmakers of the state were on the stage with him. The announcement came with a lot of excitement, not to mention the prestige it gives the state as well as the new job opportunities that could follow through after. There were several lawmakers from Texas who expressed their disappointment of the announcement after lobbying to get the site to invest in their state.
"The landing system for that plan to go to the moon will be led out of the Marshall Space Flight Center right here on the grounds of Huntsville, Alabama," Bridenstine said. "Now, I would like to say that this decision did not come easy," he further explained. He also added that "it is the history of the Marshall Facility that made it the most excellent choice considering the role it played in the history of the Apollo lunar spacecraft fifty years ago."
The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas has also been in the running to house the spacecraft for the 2024 moon exploration. Texas lawmakers were lobbying that it be chosen and they remained hopeful that it will be the case until the announcement was made.
Business giants including billionaire and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin, SpaceX by Elon Musk and the Lockheed Martin Corp are working on developing various potential components that the next lunar lander needs. All three will be competing to win the NASA all under very competitive bids that could be solicited towards the end of this school year.
It was in May when Bridenstine announced the moon exploration, which somehow accelerated everything. The current goal is to bring another team of expert astronauts to the moon by 2024. The original plan, though, was to bring another exploration of the moon by 2028. NASA has also requested the Congress to increase the budget of the agency to pave the way for the research and development of the next lunar lander
The support of the US President Trump regarding this concern is yet to become clear. In June, President Trump urged the agency to focus their development on much "bigger" space explorations like that of Mars, seemingly undercutting the announcement of his support to the moon exploration.