NASA to reveal $100 billion plan to return to the moon

by Chris Bergin

NASA will hold a press conference on Monday or Tuesday of next week to reveal details of the ageny’s $100 billion plan over 12 years to return to the Moon by 2018. The CEV will now also come into service in 2011.

The 60 Day Exploration Systems Architecture Study has been completed and is currently in the halls of the US Adminstration.

What will be revealed early next week to the public is still uncertain by way of the full content of the study, although it will include a roadmap for the orbital, trans-lunar, and lunar landing phase of the mission to head to the Moon for the first time since the 1970s.

The study has been on-going since April, with work prior to that including the SDLV (Shuttle Derived Launch Vehicle) and CEV (Crew Exploration Vehicle) – which will replace NASA’s only current manned space flight program based around the STS (Space Transportation System) or Space Shuttle.

One interesting element of the document is the confirmation that the timeline between the retirement of the Shuttle and the start of operations for the CEV has been tightened – as wished by NASA head Mike Griffin.

Instead of a projected four year downtime between the STS and CEV, the replacement for the Shuttle will come into service in 2011, just one year after the last Shuttle mission.

The study also noted that spending on exploration alone by NASA will hit $7 billion a year by 2011, rising to $15 billion a year by 2018.

The study was also viewed by White House policy officials this week, ahead of the presentation that will be made to the public.

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