BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — NASA recently announced its international Artemis II crew.
The agency said international partnerships are crucial in achieving a sustainable presence on the Moon.
But NASA Administrator Bill Nelson doesn’t think China feels the same way.
On Tuesday, he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Nelson didn’t mince words about America’s next space race.
“We are in a space race with China,” he said. “The staff of this committee has already received an intelligence briefing.”
Last year, NASA launched its successful Artemis I mission from the Kennedy Space Center.
Now, the agency is preparing for a lunar flyby with astronauts leading up to the agency’s next Moon landing near the lunar south pole.
“If there’s water, there’s hydrogen and oxygen,” Nelson said. “And you’ve got a gas station; I would not want us to be there second.”
He also responded to comments from Republican senators who told him to keep NASA out of partisan politics, assuring that the agency is non-partisan.
President Joe Biden has proposed a budget of $27.2 billion for NASA next fiscal year.
From that budget, $8.1 billion would be used for NASA’s Artemis program.
“We’re going to have this continuing program of going back to the Moon this time to learn to live, to work, to invent, to create for the purpose of going further -- going to Mars,” Nelson said.
SpaceX is currently working on a human lander for the Artemis III mission.
This Friday, NASA will announce which company it has selected to develop a lander for the Artemis V mission.
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