We Return to the Moon, But We Won’t Do It Alone

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Jim Bridenstine Blog
NASA Administrator

When President Donald Trump charged NASA with returning to the Moon, he specified that we partner with industry and other nations to make it possible. Today, on the first day of the 35thSpace Symposium in Colorado we continue our commitment to work with innovative partners as we chart our path forward to the moon in 2024.

The Space Symposium provided me and the NASA team a unique opportunity for dialogue, as it is the first major international public forum to discuss President Trump’s and Vice President Pence’s 2024 moon challenge.  Earlier today I met with several members of the international community to discuss our lunar exploration plans and reiterated NASA’s commitment to move forward to the Moon with strong international collaboration.

NASA’s leadership in low-Earth orbit through the International Space Station (ISS) has created a multi-national space community and fostered an ever-growing commercial space industry. The ISS is an innovation laboratory which has helped NASA pioneer a new private space sector. We are now working on translating these relationships and victories to deep space and the Moon.

In a meeting with Johann-Dietrich Wörner, director general of European Space Agency (ESA), and his team, we highlighted ESA’s and America’s successful collaboration on the ISS, and reviewed plans for the service module for the Orion spacecraft that will take us to the Moon and beyond. We reviewed our new expedited schedule and the key role ESA and the European Service Module will have in achieving those goals. We also discussed future robotic missions to the lunar surface and Mars.

During our meeting with Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and his delegation, we shared our commitment to the ISS and discussed additional opportunities on and around the Moon. Additionally, we followed up discussions on learning from our respective asteroid sample return missions, OSIRIS-REx AND Hayabusa-2.

This afternoon, I participated in a historic moment as NASA welcomed the newly formed Hellenic Space Agency (HAS). HSA CEO Dr. Georgios Mantzouris and I signed a joint statement expressing a desire to remain open to opportunities for collaboration, both through Greece’s contributions to the European Space Agency and bilaterally.

I attended a meeting of the National Space Council’s Users’ Advisory Group, an organization focused on coordination, cooperation and technology and information exchange across the nation’s space enterprise. They expressed their efforts to strengthen the space community,

Speaking at the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) I provided remarks on the legal and regulatory uncertainty that must be considered as we solidify our plans for the moon. These considerations must include non-traditional space activities and examining how to establish the legal regimes for authorization and continuing supervision. My conversation called on the experts in the room to further analyze this new frontier of deep space to ensure we have the certainty necessary for all parties to be successful on the Moon.

NASA and its partners are working tirelessly to make our next giant leap possible, and we’re bolstering critical sectors of our aerospace base in the process. Throughout this first day of Space Symposium, I connected with leaders in the space community and reiterated our commitment to our space architecture and the importance of international cooperation in order for all nations to be successful.