Jim Bridenstine resigned as NASA administrator on Jan. 20, 2021. This blog will be left online as a historical record, but will no longer be updated. The information it contains was accurate at the time of publication.
On behalf of NASA, I congratulate our friends in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the launch of the Emirates Mars Mission, Hope. Today marks the culmination of tremendous hard work, focus, and dedication, as well as the beginning of the UAE’s journey to Mars with the ultimate goal of human habitation of the Red Planet. This mission is aptly named since it’s a symbol of inspiration for the UAE, the region, and the world.
We are in awe of the speed and commitment the UAE, through both the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center and the UAE Space Agency, has demonstrated in developing its first interplanetary spacecraft. Moreover, your dedication to advancing the world’s understanding of Mars by publicly sharing the science and data produced by Hope represents the values of unity, peace, and transparency, that will be so important as humanity moves ever farther into the solar system.
We are pleased American universities, including the University of Colorado at Boulder, Arizona State University, and the University of California, Berkeley, were able to assist you in this mission. We are also happy to facilitate NASA’s Deep Space Network to communicate with Hope. All of us at NASA are excited about the prospects for ambitious future partnerships with the UAE in low-Earth orbit and, via the Artemis program, on and around the Moon with the ultimate destination of Mars.
Even during these challenging times, humanity’s spirit of exploration and curiosity remain undeterred. We’re eager for our own Mars mission, Perseverance, to join Hope on its journey to explore Mars. Much like the UAE and the United States of America here on Earth, our two spacecraft will travel to Mars together to benefit the entire world.
Congratulations again, and Go Hope!
On March 14, 2019, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine sent this message to NASA employees and contractors:
Yesterday, I was asked by Congress about the schedule slip of the Space Launch System and plans to get NASA back on track. I mentioned that we are exploring the possibility of launching Orion and the European Service Module to low-Earth orbit on an existing heavy-lift rocket, then using a boost from another existing vehicle for Trans Lunar Injection. Our goal would be to test Orion in lunar orbit in 2020 and free up the first SLS for the launch of habitation or other hardware in 2021. This would get us back on schedule for a crewed lunar orbital mission in 2022 with the added bonus of a lunar destination for our astronauts.
We are studying this approach to accelerate our lunar efforts. The review will take no longer than two weeks and the results will be made available. Please know that NASA is committed to building and flying the SLS for the following reasons:
- Launching two heavy-lift rockets to get Orion to the Moon is not optimum or sustainable.
- Docking crewed vehicles in Earth orbit to get to the Moon adds complexity and risk that is undesirable.
- SLS mitigates these challenges and allows crew and payloads to get to the Moon, and eventually to Mars, safer and more efficiently than any temporary solution used to get back on track.
I believe in the strength of our workforce and our ability to utilize every tool available to achieve our objectives. Our goal is to get to the Moon sustainably and on to Mars. With your focused efforts, and unmatched talent, the possibility of achieving this objective is real.