HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama will lead the Human Landing System Program for NASA's return to the moon by 2024, the agency announced Friday.
Space officials said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was joined Friday by Reps. Mo Brooks and Robert Aderholt, of Alabama, and Scott DesJarlais, of Tennessee, at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center to announce the center's new role.
"Marshall Space Flight Center is the birthplace of America's space program. It was Marshall scientists and engineers who designed, built, tested and helped launch the giant Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts on the Apollo missions to the moon," Brooks said. "Marshall has unique capabilities and expertise not found at other NASA centers. I'm pleased NASA has chosen Marshall to spearhead a key component of America's return to the moon and usher in the Artemis era. Thanks to Administrator Bridenstine for traveling here to share the great news in person."
Space officials said Bridenstine discussed the announcement in front of the 149-foot-tall Space Launch System rocket liquid hydrogen tank structural test article currently being tested.
"We greatly appreciate the support shown here today by our representatives in Congress for NASA's Artemis program and America's return to the moon, where we will prepare for our greatest feat for humankind – putting astronauts on Mars," Bridenstine said. "We focus on a 'One NASA' integrated approach that uses the technical capabilities of many centers. Marshall has the right combination of expertise and experience to accomplish this critical piece of the mission."
Space officials said engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center will work with American companies to develop, integrate and demonstrate a human lunar landing system that can launch to the Gateway, pick up astronauts and ferry them between the Gateway and the surface of the moon.
Johnson Space Center in Houston will oversee all aspects related to preparing the landers and astronauts to work together, space officials said. Johnson Space Center will also manage all Artemis missions, beginning with Artemis 1, the first integrated test of NASA's deep space exploration systems.
Click here for more on NASA's Artemis program.