NASA Asteroid Plan Divides Lawmakers
By Mark Carreau, Frank Morring, Jr.
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
“This is a very interesting project, and as I already told Charlie Bolden, we are ready to see how ESA can contribute,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the European Space Agency's general director, while attending the 29th annual National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
The asteroid scenario was developed initially by the California Institute of Technology's Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2011-12 and priced at $2.6 billion, the equivalent of a NASA planetary flagship mission. The Keck estimate includes mission work already well along at NASA, and applicable to the venture.
NASA's top line is sufficient to prepare Orion and SLS for unpiloted test flights in 2014 and 2017, with a crewed flight in 2021—just in time to greet the lunar orbiting asteroid with astronauts, says Bolden.