NASA talked about coming back to the the moon for a long time, but plans have been accelerated in recent years. Under the current government, NASA has been asked to push the limits of its schedule and to organize a crewed mission on the Moon by 2024 instead of 2028. That is five years from now. says that he will need at least $ 20 billion of additional funds to make it happen.
NASA currently receives about $ 20 billion a year. NASA's director, Jim Bridenstine, believes that reaching the moon by five years requires additional funding of $ 20 billion to $ 30 billion. That's another $ 5 billion or $ 6 billion in NASA's annual budget. Adding 25 to 30% to NASA's budget is far from being a sure thing.
NASA will have to go through Congress to get that money, and that money has to come from somewhere. Until now, NASA has requested $ 1.6 billion in additional funding. The administration would be looking to use that money from the Pell Grants program, which helps low-income students pay for college. Needless to say, there is an opposition to this plan.
The new moon landing program (called Artemis) will use launchers and technologies that are either late to develop or simply non-existent. The Space Launch System (SLS) should have cost about US $ 9.7 billion with operations starting in 2017. NASA hopes to perform the first test missions next year after spending more than $ 12 billion US. The Orion spacecraft that will transport the crew to the moon has also been slow to develop, but it is ahead of the SLS that is supposed to carry it. NASA could use commercial rockets for the next Orion test.
NASA is also in the early stages of planning the Gateway Station, which will remain in lunar orbit and transport to and from the lunar surface. NASA has just ordered the first module of the station, powered by a propulsion and power element built by Maxar.
President Trump's recent tweet on Twitter plays down the importance of returning to the moon. In the tweet, Trump said that NASA "should focus on the most important things" like going to Mars. Bridenstine emphasizes that to achieve a sustainable human presence on and around the moon, it is essential to go to a mission on Mars.