With next month’s retirement of Space Shuttle Atlantis, NASA is focusing on its research aboard the International Space Station and planning the next era of human spaceflight that includes a manned-trip to an asteroid and manned-trips to Mars and its moons, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said.
“Anyone who says that we’re not going to be engaging anymore in human spaceflight is talking a bunch of stuff,” Bolden said Friday at an AFCEA DC Luncheon at the Pentagon City Ritz-Carleton.
Bolden says NASA has committed a six-person crew to the International Space Station through 2020 that will call for the recruitment of a new generation of astronauts.
Beyond that, Bolden said the agency is focused on creating and discovering new technologies and systems to enable astronauts to travel further than ever in areas like fuel efficiency, navigation, precision instruments and new ways to analyze data.
He even mentioned creating new space technologies like inflatable habitats, mid-space refueling stations and high bandwidth communications.
“The Obama Administration is committed to NASA and our mission and it’s an incredibly exciting time for the aerospace industry,” Bolden said. “These missions and our research will lead to the next generation of technologies here on Earth and high-tech jobs that will spur the economy.”
He continued, “It’s going to be the next generation that think about these technologies differently from you and I that will take NASA and mankind beyond our moon and into the rest of the galaxy.”