Ars Technica “Whether it gets filled in by the private sector or not, NASA’s vision is we’re trying to move out.” by Eric Berger
'Gerstenmaier made those comments during a meeting of NASA’s advisory council in early December at Johnson Space Center, which Ars attended. The comments are striking because, while the remarks reflect NASA’s desire to see US commercial industries thrive in the space around Earth, it is not the agency’s top priority to ensure that happens. Gerstenmaier said NASA is committed to moving humans deeper into space to the vicinity of the Moon, an area known as cislunar space.
'Although he’s not a high-profile figure outside of the space industry, Gerstenmaier is arguably the most influential person when it comes to US spaceflight. He is presently weighing how long NASA can afford to fly the International Space Station before moving beyond low-Earth orbit.
'The program’s budget, now about $3 billion annually, is projected to rise to about $4 billion by 2020. NASA cannot afford both a robust space station program and active human exploration program in cislunar space, he said.'