Space & Astronomy
Astronauts could fly around the Moon by 2019
By T.K. Randall
February 25, 2017 · 9 comments
Astronauts could be flying around the Moon sooner rather than later. Image Credit: NASA
NASA is considering whether to send a crew on its first integrated Orion, SLS flight around the Moon.
It has been almost 50 years since the last human set foot on the surface of another world and with the discontinuation of the Space Shuttle program back in 2011, manned space exploration has become limited to routine journeys to and from the International Space Station.
This could soon be set to change however thanks to NASA's Orion Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System - two projects which when combined have the potential to take humans all the way to Mars.
The first mission to use both, Exploration Mission 1, had been set to achieve a retrograde lunar orbit in 2018, but now NASA has revealed that it is considering sending a crew of astronauts along for the ride, a proposal that, if successful, would see humans venture further from Earth than ever before.
A detailed assessment will first need to be carried out however to determine whether it would be safe to do this and what type of modifications would need to be made to ensure the crew's safety.
"Our priority is to ensure the safe and effective execution of all our planned exploration missions with the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in Washington.
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