NASA plan to put the first woman on the moon by 2024

The Apollo 15 mission in 1971. / NASA
The Apollo 15 mission in 1971. / NASA

The head of NASA has described his plan to put a woman on the moon by 2024 – saying he hopes it will inspire a generation of women.

NASA flew six manned missions to the surface of the moon, beginning with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in July 1969, up to Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt in December 1972.

NASA head Jim Bridenstine described his new crop of astronauts as ‘very diverse’.

The space agency chief was speaking after US President Donald Trump announced an additional $1.6 billion to go towards accelerating the lunar programme.

Speaking at the Humans to Mars Summit in Washington DC, Mr Bridenstein said: ‘I have an 11-year-old daughter and I want her to be able to see herself in the same way that our current very diverse astronaut corps sees itself.

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‘And if we look at the history of moon landings, it was test pilots from the 1960s and 1970s, fighter pilots, and there were no opportunities for women back then.

‘This programme is going to enable a new generation of young girls like my daughter to see themselves in a way that maybe they wouldn’t otherwise see themselves.’

NASA’s budget includes a new ‘Lunar Gateway’ space station which will orbit the moon by the nimd-2020s, and budget for a manned mission to the moon

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said earlier this year, ‘For the first time in over 10 years, we have money in this budget for a return to the Moon with humans.

‘I’m talking human-rated landers, compatible with Gateway, that can go back and forth to the surface of the moon.

‘The moon is the proving ground; Mars is the horizon goal.’