Bridenstine made the announcement in front of the 149-foot-tall Space Launch System (SLS) rocket liquid hydrogen tank structural test article being tested at NASA’s Alabama installation.
He was joined at the event by U.S. Reps. Mo Brooks and Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee.
“We greatly appreciate the support shown here today by our representatives in Congress for NASA’s Artemis program and America’s return to the Moon, where we will prepare for our greatest feat for humankind – putting astronauts on Mars,” Bridenstine said.
“We focus on a ‘One NASA’ integrated approach that uses the technical capabilities of many centers. Marshall has the right combination of expertise and experience to accomplish this critical piece of the mission.”
Informed by years of expertise in propulsion systems integration and technology development, engineers at Marshall will work with U.S. companies to rapidly develop, integrate and demonstrate a human lunar landing system that can launch to the Gateway, pick up astronauts and ferry them between the Gateway and the surface of the Moon.
“Marshall Space Flight Center is the birthplace of America’s space program. It was Marshall scientists and engineers who designed, built, tested and helped launch the giant Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts on the Apollo missions to the Moon,” Brooks said.
“Marshall has unique capabilities and expertise not found at other NASA centers. I’m pleased NASA has chosen Marshall to spearhead a key component of America’s return to the Moon and usher in the Artemis era.”
Huge announcement from @NASA Administrator @JimBridenstine – @NASA_Marshall will oversee & manage the agency’s lunar lander development program. This decision highlights the crucial role #MSFC plays in sending astronauts back to the Moon.
— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) August 16, 2019
Aderholt said Marshall is the perfect pick to lead the Human Landing System Program.
“Marshall Space Flight Center, and north Alabama, have played a key role in every American human mission to space since the days of Mercury 7. I am proud that Marshall has been selected to be the lead for the landers program,” Aderholt said.
“I am also very proud that Marshall has designed and built the rocket system, the Space Launch System, which will make missions to the Moon and Mars possible. We look forward to working with our industry partners and our NASA partners from around the country.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.