He said the first astronauts to walk on the moon in the Artemis program will only spend a few hours on the surface, much like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did during the pioneering Apollo 11 mission 50 years ago this summer.
The crew that will work onboard, probably on a permanent basis as on the ISS, will perform deep space exploration and scientific experiments but also send crewed or robotic missions to the Moon's surface.
NASA on Thursday unveiled the calendar for the "Artemis" program that will return astronauts to the Moon for the first time in half a century, including eight scheduled launches and a mini-station in lunar orbit by 2024. "Given NASA is no longer pursuing the new mission directorate, Mark has opted to pursue other opportunities".
Recent pushes by the current presidential administration have put NASA in a pinch and, aside from not having almost enough money to actually accomplish what Trump and his pals are insisting upon, making it all happen within five years is, practically speaking, ridiculous.
Last Monday, the space agency said it needed an additional $1.6 billion for fiscal year 2020 to meet its accelerated deadline to land humans on the moon, which was moved forward from 2028 by President Donald Trump in March of this year.
A small pressurized module will be attached providing at least two docking ports, one to accommodate visiting Orion capsules and the other for use by the lunar lander and ascent vehicle.
The contract for the Maxar solution is valued at $375 million and includes an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity provision.
During that period, the spacecraft, launched atop a commercial rocket, will be owned and operated by Maxar.
Two individuals close to the space program and familiar with the situation said Sirangelo was escorted out of NASA's headquarters in Washington after his resignation.
Maxar is NASA's first contractor to be selected for the new lunar program that will establish an outpost starting in 2024 on the moon's south pole - which is also a precursor to human missions to Mars.
However, the USA space agency will need a lot more cash to achieve its new target.