NASA says its first crewed mission to Mars will arrive in 2019.
The agency announced Wednesday that it has begun preparations to send astronauts to the red planet, and is working to secure enough cargo for a crewed voyage to the planet by 2025.NASA says it is “on track to deliver” its crewed Mars mission by 2025, with the next milestone coming in 2021.
“Mars is a key destination for future human exploration, and we are on track to achieve our mission objectives in the next five years,” said Mike Griffin, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations.
The announcement comes just weeks after SpaceX successfully landed its Dragon spacecraft on a floating floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first crew to land on a solid surface on Mars has been successfully completed in the past, but only for a small number of missions.
SpaceX, in particular, has had its hopes dashed when it landed a Dragon capsule on a Russian rocket.
The landing of the Dragon capsule, which was carrying supplies for the International Space Station, prompted NASA to order more missions to the Red Planet, including a mission to the moon.
A second mission, dubbed Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), has been in development since 2016 and will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket.
NASA has awarded the $1.8 billion contract to SpaceX.NASA’s human exploration missions are focused on human exploration of the planets surface, in orbit, and on the moon, with only one mission currently being conducted by the agency: the International Astronaut Congress in 2019, when it hosted NASA’s astronaut corps.NASA said the OTV mission will provide “a new, more affordable way to explore the solar system and the outer planets.”
It will send astronauts on missions to Mars, Saturn and Uranus.