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In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, Alan Campbell, a project manager for space systems at the famed Draper Laboratory that built the computer which took astronauts to the Moon 50 years ago, is waiting for news from NASA.
His firm has continued to specialize in the advanced technology required for space travel and is a natural candidate to help the US space agency in its quest to return to the Moon by 2024—once final requests for proposals go out.
NASA - Right - Campbell - AFP - Draper
"We don't know when those are going to be because NASA is all thrown into a loop right now," Campbell told AFP from Draper's booth at the 35th Space Symposium, which is being held in Colorado Springs.
"They're still trying to figure it out," he said. "We can't really work on their problems until they tell us, 'These are the problems we want people to work on.'"
Wait - Hundreds - Companies - Aerospace - Giants
It's a similar wait for hundreds of other companies, ranging from aerospace giants to the most specialized of sub-contractors, many of whom are at the annual space industry event.
Until March 26 of last year, American boots were set to return to the Moon in 2028 following the last such mission by Apollo 17 in 1972.
Month - Administration - President - Donald - Trump
Last month though, the administration of President Donald Trump said it was speeding up that timetable by a full four years, throwing NASA into overdrive.
The first problem is linked to the super heavy rocket required for the lunar mission, the skyscraper-sized Space Launch System (SLS).
Boeing - Contractor - Years - Test - Flight
Boeing, the prime contractor, is years behind and isn't certain it will be ready for its first test flight, without humans, in 2020.
At its booth, the US aerospace giant had relegated a model of the SLS to a corner.
Orion - Capsule - Astronauts - Competitor - Lockheed
The Orion capsule that will transport the astronauts, built by competitor Lockheed Martin, should be ready, program manager Michael Hawes assures...
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