Steve Jurczyk: NASA Aims to Send Payloads to Mars Through SpaceX’s Red Dragon

Steve Jurczyk
Steve Jurczyk

NASA plans to collaborate with SpaceX to use the company’s Red Dragon unmanned spacecraft concept to send payloads designed for technology demonstrations to Mars, Space News reported Thursday.

Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s space technology mission directorate, said at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference that potential payloads could include resource utilization-based platforms that could potentially turn water on the Martian surface into potable water, oxygen, hydrogen or methane, Jeff Foust writes.

Jurczyk noted that NASA is unlikely to have a payload ready for SpaceX’s planned 2018 Mars mission and that it would use such a mission to gain entry, descent and landing information under the modified Space Act Agreement.

“If they go in 2018, it’s really going to be an EDL demo for us. We won’t have any payloads available. But 2020 there’s a possibility.” he said.

Jim Green, chief of NASA’s planetary science division, has said the agency plans to integrate the launch of its Mars lander – Insight – with SpaceX’s Red Dragon in 2018, according to the report.

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