Shakeup at NASA as space agency scrambles to meet Trump moon mandate

Heres what 12 Astronauts had to say about their experience on visiting the lunar surface

In an email to employees obtained by The Washington Post, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Gerstenmaier would become a special assistant to Jim Morhard, the deputy administrator.

The news comes mere hours after Gerstenmaier testified at a House subcommittee meeting, focusing on the future of the International Space Station and NASA's plans for exploring low Earth orbit.

"I don't have any feelings about going back to the moon or not, I think, probably, given the fact of nanotechnology and what that's going to do for us, lots of good things, I think going back to the moon is a waste of money".

He told CNN in a statement Friday that the decision to change leadership "was mine alone". The move signifies something of a demotion for Gerstenmaier at the agency.

He said "if NASA's not now capable of landing American astronauts on the moon in five years, we need to change the organization, not the mission". "Given NASA is no longer pursuing the new mission directorate, Mark has opted to pursue other opportunities", Bridenstine said in a memo to employees at the time. "Removing experienced engineering leadership from that effort and the rest of the nation's human spaceflight programs at such a crucial point in time seems misguided at best". "I know she cares deeply about the safety of our astronauts". The White House recently requested an additional $1.6 billion for NASA to help jumpstart the Artemis program next year, on top of the $21 billion the administration already requested for the agency. But Vice President Mike Pence, who announced the accelerated 2024 target in March, has criticized NASA for "bureaucratic inertia" and asked for a new mindset.


"What we need now is urgency", Pence said during a speech to a crowd at the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The new timeline gives NASA only five years to assemble the hardware and funds it requires.

Five decades after Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon, FRANCE 24 takes you inside NASA.

The hardware that NASA needs is either delayed, way over budget or doesn't yet exist.

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