NASA has launched a study of the potential advantages and disadvantages of having a flight crew on the Space Launch System‘s first deployment with the Orion spacecraft in 2019, Space News reported Friday.
Jeff Foust writes that agency researchers are examining the feasibility of a two-person flight crew for Exploration Mission 1 that would be flown on a trajectory similar to another trajectory under consideration for the future EM-2 launch.
“We need to go look at what do we really gain by putting crew on this flight,” Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA, said of the crewed EM-1 study.
“Does this really advance significantly our overall ability to get to a capability to take humans, routinely as it can be, to the vicinity of the moon and operate safely?” Gerstenmaier added, according to the report.
He expects NASA to report on the preliminary results of the study within a month and projects the findings will fit into upcoming discussions between the White House and Congress about the agency’s fiscal 2018 budget.