NASA plans to send astronauts to the moon in 2024

Updated: Jun. 30, 2019 at 11:05 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (KPLC) - Fifty years after the Apollo 11 Mission sent three American astronauts to the moon, NASA is working to do it again; this time, sending the first woman to the moon.

The mission to the moon and beyond begins at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

According to Jonathan Looser, NASA Core Stage Propulsion Lead, Louisiana is playing a big role in sending men and women to the moon.

“Louisiana plays a huge role in SLS," Looser said. "As for the space program, and many programs, through Apollo, through space shuttles, and now SLS. All of that is being built right here in Louisiana.”

SLS stands for Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket in the world according to NASA.

The SLS will reach MACH 23, faster than 17,000 MPH, in just 8.5 minutes.

“This is the core stage for Artemis 1," Looser said. "The elements for core stage one are right behind me. You have the top 4/5ths of the rocket, which is the locks tank, the engine, the inner tank, the hydrogen tank, then over my left soldier here is the engine section.”

The core stage is the backbone of the rocket.

The Artemis Program will return astronauts to the moon by 2024, according to NASA. The first step though, is launching an unmanned rocket next year to study. In 2022, a manned Artemis 2 will fly a different path and take astronauts around the moon for the first time in 50 years. In 2024, NASA plans on sending astronauts, men AND women, back to the moon.

Chad Bryant, NASA’s Core Stage Lead, says while the first rocket is still being put together, the Artemis Program has been a long time coming.

“It’s been a long time since NASA has launched a rocket," Bryant said. "It’s been a long time since we have crewed a video and we are ready to get back. It’s the kind of thing that brings everyone together in America. While we launch this rocket, there will be 500 seconds of everybody standing there in silence together. You know, I can’t think of a better way to unify America than that.”

After the Artemis Program, NASA says they plan to have a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 and astronauts on Mars by 2030.

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