Although there’s a lot of emphasis on returning to the moon, the ultimate goal is to send humans to Mars. Calling the future of human space flight exciting during the Apollo 11 50 year anniversary celebrations in Parkes on Sunday, former Australian astronaut Dr Andy Thomas detailed the current plan of those in the global space industry. “There’s a lot of emphasis now on returning to the moon, but to return to the moon you need a big, big rocket and to that end NASA is committed to the development of the space launch system which is a rocket in the same class as the Saturn 5 rocket that launched the Apollo astronauts to the moon 50 years ago,” he explained. This will be used to take humans, for the first time, beyond low-Earth orbit and out into deep space in a capsule. The first flight of the rocket and capsule is expected sometime in the next two years, and the plan, Thomas said, is to deploy it in orbit around the moon a small lunar space station called the Lunar Gateway. He said the flight will be a stepping off point for exploration in the moon environment and ultimately, the surface of the moon. “It will be a couple of modules: A life support module, a power module, and a docking module assembled together, which will be visited by crews for extended periods of time for six-month duration stays and there will be a lander docked to the gateway… [Read full story]
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