NASA is moving into a second phase that will concentrate on Mars, three months after releasing the first phase of its architecture for human exploration of the moon and Mars.
In April, NASA unveiled their initial architecture definition document for the “Moon to Mars” campaign as a whole. That 150-page report connected NASA’s intentions for the initial run of Artemis lunar missions, the first of four components for the overall architecture, with more than 60 previously specified long-term exploration objectives.
“We connected objectives to what we’re planning to do in our first four to five missions,” Jim Free, NASA associate administrator for exploration systems development, said on a panel at the Glenn Memorial Symposium of the American Astronautical Society on July 19. Having that for that section and the next three, in my opinion, “allows us to really show strategy to implementation.”
For the upcoming iteration of the architecture idea evaluation, the agency is now getting ready. Free stated that the organization has just finished a strategic study cycle for the upcoming review, which will concentrate on the last section, human trips to Mars. The actual review will happen in November.
Additionally, NASA has been gathering comments on the original text. In June, there were two workshops—one for international partners and the other for businesses and academia—as well as one-on-one consultations with businesses and foreign partners. He said, “The input was phenomenal.”
The need for a better understanding of priorities and where partners should invest to support the architecture was one of the recurring topics in the feedback. Additionally, there was comments on the actual architecture creation process, which will be included into the following cycle.
He remarked, “There are some parts of the architecture definition document that will be updated based on what we heard,” without going into further detail.
Free stated that he thought the design will help the organization achieve its objective of establishing a solid strategy for human space exploration that can survive monetary and political changes. He stated, suggesting alternatives for upcoming administrations, “From my perspective, we put this process in place that, as it was intended, was supposed to survive administrations.” “How much do you want to do, not whether you want to do it at all?”
He claimed that the architecture may be used as a tool for advocacy. When he added, “It also helps us explain what won’t get done when a budget cut comes,” advocates for those elements were then able to get out and discuss why those missing elements were crucial.