NASA administrator says space missions on track despite COVID-19

WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — The coronavirus pandemic has upended many aspects of life on Earth, but NASA’s administrator told Congress it has yet to impact the agency’s missions in space.

During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday, Administrator Jim Bridenstine said NASA’s mission to land the first woman and next man on the moon as early as 2024 is still on track.

“The chief reason to go to the moon is because it accelerates our path to Mars,” Bridenstine said. “We believe it is important for the first person to land on Mars to be an American astronaut and we want to make sure that when we do go to Mars, we go with our international partners. This is about American leadership.”

Bridenstine credited CARES Act funding for keeping developments in the Artemis Program, like rocket testing and spacecraft construction, on schedule by providing personal protective equipment and other safety measures to the agency.

However, he stressed the program will need $28 billion over the next four years to launch, which Congress has yet to approve. Lawmakers recently bypassed new appropriation bills with a continuing resolution to avoid a possible government shutdown until December.

“Obviously, that’s never ideal, but the

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