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The space shuttle may be gone, but space travel is nonetheless making a comeback!
For a few decades, it seemed like space travel was a lost dream. After the moon landing in 1969, people imagined travel to the planets in only a few decades, but close to fifty years have gone by without a manned landing on Mars taking place. Two tragic and fatal NASA missions, one in 1986 and another in 2003, put the organization in jeopardy.
Trump administration requested NASA send humans to the Moon again
The abandonment of the space shuttle in 2011 was not the end of NASA’s relevance. NASA has developed a new manned spacecraft, the Orion, which is capable of travel into deep space and not merely into orbit around the Earth. While a Mars landing is not planned for the very near future, NASA does plan to return to the moon. In 2019, the ORION spacecraft is planned to make a flight around the moon, followed by a moon landing in 2021. Until recently, the 2019 mission was going to be unmanned. However, NASA is considering making the 2019 mission a manned flight. If the flight around the moon does take place in 2019, this will occur exactly fifty years after the 1969 mission. The Trump administration is said to have requested that NASA do everything in their power to make it a manned flight.
That it will be a manned flight is not a guarantee. Making it a manned flight will require time, ingenuity, and money. It may not fit into NASA’s schedule or budget. NASA is currently working with people outside of the organization to determine whether or not a manned flight around the moon is possible in 2019. Safety is also an issue. Of 135 total space shuttle flights, two of them ended in disaster, with the deaths of all crew members. NASA could be described as having a disastrous safety record. Being an astronaut is at least as dangerous as it is prestigious. Hopefully, the new Orion spacecraft will be designed with safety in mind. If all goes well, we could live to see the old dream of widespread manned space travel become a reality.