Thursday, September 25, 2008

NASA DISCUSSES LUNAR EXPLORATION CONCEPTS AND PLANS

NASA managers briefed industry representatives, members of academia and reporters Thursday about the agency's initial plans for the Ares V heavy-lift rocket and Altair lunar lander. The Ares V and Altair are part of a fleet of vehicles NASA is developing for a new space transportation system designed to travel beyond low Earth orbit and return humans to the moon by 2020.

Interested participants from throughout the aerospace community attended the forum to discuss the outcomes of a nine-month lunar transportation capabilities study, conceptual designs for the rocket and lunar lander, and near-term business opportunities. NASA is planning to release a Request for Proposals for Altair and Ares V in early 2009, and make awards in spring 2009.

Participants from NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate included Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator for the directorate, Jeff Hanley, manager of NASA's Constellation Program, and Geoff Yoder, director of the Constellation Systems Division.

Briefing charts from the event are available online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/esmd/home/lunar_id.html

NASA Television will rebroadcast the forum on its public channel Thursday at 4 and 9 p.m. EDT. For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

NASA's Constellation fleet also includes the Orion crew exploration vehicle and the Ares I launch vehicle. NASA plans to establish a human outpost on the moon through a successive series of lunar missions. For more information about NASA's Constellation Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/constellation


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