Readout: International Astronautical Congress (Day 4)

Building on the growing international support for NASA’s Artemis program, agency leaders continued their bilateral discussions with world leaders on the fourth day of the 70th International Astronautical Conference in Washington.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine began Thursday with a meeting with President Jean-Yves Le Gall of France’s space agency the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) to discuss French support for bilateral and European cooperation in human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Following their meeting, Bridenstine and Le Gall signed an update to an agreement for cooperation between the agencies on the U.S.-France Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. SWOT will create the first global survey of Earth’s surface water, which will help us better understand our freshwater resources. Set to launch in 2021, SWOT is the latest in a series of ocean altimetry missions resulting from U.S.-France cooperation.

Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), left, shakes hands with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine after signing an amendment to the Surface Water and Ocean Topography Mission agreement at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Bridenstine also met with Israel Space Agency Director Avigdor Blasberger to discuss areas of mutual cooperation and future exploration plans. Israel, together with the German Aerospace Center, is developing a vest for human exploration. The vests will be flight-tested on NASA’s Artemis 1 mission.

Israel Space Agency Director Avi Blasberger, second from right, meets with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, second from left, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Polish Space Agency (POLSA) also expressed its support for the Artemis program by signing a joint statement with Bridenstine focused on strengthening cooperation between the United States and Poland. Through ESA (European Space Agency), Poland has been involved in plans for elements of the lunar Gateway.

Michal Szaniawski, president of the Polish Space Agency (POLSA), left, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shake hands after signing a joint statement expressing their intent to discuss opportunities for cooperation, including sustainable activities around and on the Moon in connection with NASA’s Artemis program, Oct. 24, 2019, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Bridenstine held a media availability in the late morning at the NASA exhibit, where he took questions from national and international reporters. The administrator answered questions on a wide range of topics including future robotic missions to the Moon and Mars, to the selection of Artemis astronauts.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine answers questions during a media availability at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Representatives from the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA), which recently sent its first astronaut to the International Space Station, met with Bridenstine to discuss possible opportunities for UAE astronauts to train in the United States, as well as commercial industry activity in low-Earth orbit, the space between Earth and the Moon, and on Mars.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, meets with United Arab Emirates Space Agency Director General Mohamed Al Ahbabi, right, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 24, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

In the afternoon, Bridenstine spoke at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition finals, hosted by the International Institute of Space Law, where law students – with support from NASA’s Office of General Counsel and Office of STEM Engagement – participate in a hypothetical legal case.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine gives remarks during the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition finals Oct. 24, 2019, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Readout: International Astronautical Congress (Day 3)

For the first time in almost two decades, IAC was held in the United States, providing a great opportunity for NASA employees from all over the country to showcase the agency’s impact on science and discovery.

On the third day of IAC, hundreds of NASA employees wearing NASA blue gathered for a group photo to kick off the day. The theme of NASA’s involvement this year focuses on Artemis and working with our international partners to achieve our goals.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks to agency employees as they gather for a group picture at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

At a meeting with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Bridenstine discussed Canada’s commitment to the lunar Gateway with CSA President Sylvain Laporte and senior Canadian officials. Canada was the first international partner to commit to the Gateway and has been coordinating with NASA to provide external robotics.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, and Ken Bowersox, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, meet with Sylvain Laporte, president of the Canadian Space Agency, at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Bridenstine also participated in the Young Professionals Town Hall, which brought together early career space professionals from around the world. The administrator discussed NASA’s plans and priorities, and how young people can become involved in Artemis, and answered questions from the crowd. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is seen during the Global Networking Forum Young Professionals Town Hall at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is an important international partner for NASA, and in a meeting today, leaders of the agencies had a lengthy discussion on ongoing and future cooperation in aeronautics and science. They also talked about potential DLR contributions to the Artemis program bilaterally and through ESA (European Space Agency) and noted the critical importance of the European Service Modules for Orion, which are being developed in Germany.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, right, is seen during a meeting with Sylvain Laporte, president of the Canadian Space Agency, at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Italian Space Agency (ASI) President Giorgio Saccoccia signed a joint statement with Bridenstine that acknowledged the strong mutual cooperation between the agencies and identifies areas of potential future cooperation for the Artemis program. The NASA-ASI partnership provides potential for industry cooperation in support of Artemis. 

Giorgio Saccoccia, head of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), left, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shake hands after signing a joint statement acknowledging the strong ongoing cooperation between the agencies, and identifying areas of potential future cooperation on and around the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 23, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement hosted a live broadcast entitled “STEM and Space: Where Do You Fit In?” The goal of the event was to bring IAC to students in the United States and around the globe who are pursuing undergraduate and graduate STEM studies and interested in learning about opportunities in the space sector. Bridenstine participated alongside NASA astronauts Doug Wheelock and Jeanette Epps, former NASA astronaut Sandy Magnus, and other senior NASA officials.

 

Readout: International Astronautical Congress (Day 2)

For Administrator Bridenstine’s second day at the 70th International Astronautical Congress focused on continuing to broaden our international partnerships. Many space agencies and nations are represented at IAC, and NASA is maximizing the opportunity to meet with those space agencies who have an interest in partnering with us on the Artemis program and our journey to Mars.

In the morning, Bridenstine and a delegation of NASA officials met with Thomas Jarzombek, federal government coordinator of German aerospace policy at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and senior officials from ESA (European Space Agency). The meeting focused on German support for NASA-ESA collaboration on the International Space Station, European service modules and lunar Gateway.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, poses for a photo with Thomas Jarzombek, federal government coordinator of German aerospace policy at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 22, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

A meeting was also held with ESA (European Space Agency) Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner to solidify support for Artemis and contributions from Europe. Topics such as the significance of Europe’s human exploration plans and support for the upcoming ESA ministerial meeting were on the agenda. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, third from right, and Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard, fourth from right, speak with Professor Johann-Dietrich Worner, Director General of ESA (European Space Agency), fourth from left, during the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 22, 2019, in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The administrator also convened a meeting of senior leaders from more than 25 international space agencies to discuss the future of human exploration, during which NASA presented a vision and plans for Artemis and missions to Mars.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks during a multilateral meeting of the heads of space agencies at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019 in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Bridenstine and leaders from the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) signed a joint statement that highlights areas of mutual interest, such as lunar exploration and calls for the establishment of a new framework agreement between the two agencies. Marc Serres, chief executive officer of LSA, led the meeting with Bridenstine, focusing on the International Space Station, Orion, Gateway, and Mars sample return. 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, right, and Dr. Marc Serres, chief executive officer, Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA), left, shake hands after signing an agreement while the Honorable James Randolph Evans, Ambassador to the Grant Duchy of Luxembourg, back right, and Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister, back left, observed at the 70th International Astronautical Congress Oct. 22, 2019 in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

 

What is the Artemis Generation?

It’s hard to believe it was only six months ago that NASA was called to accelerate our plans to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, and establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028. In doing so, we also accelerated our plans for our next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

We committed to making these goals a reality, and soon after, I announced the name for our efforts: the Artemis program.

Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, and a goddess of the Moon. And she now personifies our path forward in more ways than one. With the Artemis program, we will land the first woman and next man on the Moon. Many have asked why we’re focused on sending the first woman. And I often say because it is about time! Our astronauts represent the best of us, and to do so, we must be able to see ourselves among them.

Today, our astronaut corps is diverse. Based on education and professional experience, millions of American women and men are eligible to apply to be NASA astronauts. Only a handful though are selected from each application class. In addition to pilots, astronauts today have a variety of backgrounds in STEM – they are doctors, geologists, biologists and more.

As the father of a young girl, it’s important my daughter can look to the stars and see herself in the face of the first woman to go the Moon. Whether or not she grows up to be a doctor and ultimately an astronaut, she needs to see that it is possible. I believe our astronaut corps today gives her that confidence. Like me and you, she is a part of the Artemis generation.

Not since Apollo has there been this much momentum to return to the lunar surface. Many other nations are interested in the Moon so this time, we’re not going alone. With Artemis, we will go forward to explore the Moon and beyond with innovative commercial and international partners.

And we will go to the Moon this time using modern technology and systems in ways that will allow us to return time and time again. This too is different with the Artemis generation – we will see long-term robotic and human exploration of our nearest neighbor. Then we will take what we learn at the Moon, and head to Mars.

#AskNASA

In the coming weeks, we will highlight more of our Artemis plans. We’re starting with the basics – answering questions such as Why are we going back to the Moon? How do we get there? And finally, who is going with us?

We’ll address these questions and more with a fun, new digital series called #AskNASA. If you have a question about the Moon and Mars, or really, anything you want to know about our agency, send it our way. Submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA or online using our webform.

We look forward to answering your questions. In doing so, we’re hoping to inform and inspire you…the Artemis generation.

Statement on Israel’s Beresheet Lunar Lander

While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit. Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress. I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements.