NASA’s new rocket won’t be ready for moon shot next year

NASA will decide in the next couple weeks whether to stick with its rocket and delay

13 March 2019 | 19:18

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 13 March 2019 | 19:18

Vice President Mike Pence, left, shakes hands with the new NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, right, on stage during a swearing-in ceremony, Monday, April 23, 2018, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.: NASA’s top official said the space agency’s new rocket won’t be ready for a moon shot next year.

Administrator Jim Bridenstine told a Senate committee Wednesday he’s considering switching to commercial rockets to preserve the June 2020 launch date.

Bridenstine said two commercial rockets would be needed, one to launch the Orion capsule and its European-built service module, the other to launch an upper stage. Orion would have to dock with the upper stage in orbit around Earth, before heading to the moon.

NASA’s SLS, or Space Launch System, rocket, could do everything in one fell swoop.

Bridenstine said NASA will decide in the next couple weeks whether to stick with its rocket and delay — or go commercial for this one test flight.

It originally was scheduled this year.

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