RELEASE 14-087

NASA Marks Major Programmatic Milestone for Spaceport of the Future

Animation of how NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft would be prepared for a deep space mission launch from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Image Credit: 


NASA achieved a major milestone this month in its effort to transform the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida into a multi-user spaceport by successfully completing the initial design and technology development phase for the Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program.

The major program milestone on March 20, called the Preliminary Design Review, provided an assessment of the initial designs for infrastructure at Kennedy and allowed development of the ground systems to proceed toward detailed design. The thorough review has validated the baseline architecture is sound and aligns with the agency’s exploration objectives.

“We’ve pushed the boundaries of space exploration for more than 50 years and are making progress getting ready to move the frontier even further into the solar system,” said Dan Dumbacher, deputy associate administrator for exploration system development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ”The work being done to transform our abilities to prepare and process spacecraft and launch vehicles at Kennedy is a critical piece of our efforts to send astronauts in Orion on top of the Space Launch System to an asteroid and ultimately Mars.”

Unlike previous work at Kennedy focusing on a single kind of launch system, such as the Saturn V rocket or space shuttle, engineers and managers in GSDO are preparing the spaceport’s infrastructure to support several different spacecraft and rockets in development for human exploration. This includes NASA’s development of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. They will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit with the flexibility to launch spacecraft for crew and cargo missions to destinations in the solar system, including an asteroid and Mars.

“The preliminary design review is incredibly important, as it must demonstrate the ground systems designs are on track to process and launch the SLS and the Orion from Kennedy,” said Mike Bolger, GSDO program manager.

In December 2012, the GSDO Program completed a combined system requirements review and system definition review to determine the center’s infrastructure needs for future programs and establish work plans for the preliminary design phase. That successful completion confirmed the groundwork needed to launch the SLS and Orion spacecraft.

For more information on GSDO, visit:


For more information about Orion, SLS and NASA’s future human spaceflight exploration plans, visit:



Rachel Kraft
Headquarters, Washington

Amber Philman
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

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There are several future lunar missions scheduled or proposed by various nations or organisations.



o    2.1 Space probe missions

o    2.2 Manned missions

Under development[edit]

Country Name Launch due
(Private) GLXP Barcelona Moon Team June 2015[1]
(Private) GLXP Penn State Lunar Lion Team July 2015[2]
(Private) GLXP Moon Express 2015[3]
(Private) GLXP Astrobotic Technology 2015[4]
 China Chang’e 4 2015
 Russia Luna-Glob 1 2016[5][6]
 India Chandrayaan-2 2017[7][8]
 China Chang’e 5 2017[9]
 Russia Luna-Glob 2 (Luna-Resurs) 2018[10][11]
 USA ILN Node 1 2018[12]


Space probe missions[edit]

The following robotic space probe missions have been proposed:

Country Name Launch due
(Private) Google Lunar X Prize Some missions in 2015
 Japan SELENE-2[13] 2017[14]
 USA International Lunar Network[12] 2018+
 Europe Lunar Lander[15][16] 2018
 Russia Luna-Grunt 2020 and 2021
 South Korea Moon orbiter and lander[17][18] 2020+
(Private) OpenLuna 2020+

Manned missions[edit]

Country Name Proposed
launch date
Nature of proposed mission
(Private) DSE-Alpha 2017 Mission to transport the first space tourists to fly around the Moon using Soyuz; proposed by Space Adventures (2005).[19][20]
 USA EM-2 2019-21 Manned test of Orion spacecraft in Lunar orbit
 India 2020 Manned moon landing; proposed by ISRO (2009).[21]
 Japan 2020 Manned moon landing; proposed by JAXA (2006).[22]
 Europe Aurora programme[23] 2024 Manned moon landing; proposed by ESA.[24]
 China CLEP 2025+ Manned moon landing; proposed by CNSA.[25][26]
 Iran 2025 Manned moon landing; proposed by ISA (2010).[27]
 Russia 2025+ Manned moon landing; proposed by RFSA (2007).[28]
(Private) 2019 Manned moon landing and operation of lunar surface mineral extraction equipment proposed by Shackleton Energy Company(2012).
(Private) 2020+ Manned moon landing proposed by Golden Spike Company (2012).[29]
(Private) OpenLuna 2020+

NB. Launch dates are aspirational and may change drastically as the planning and preparation progresses.

Cancelled or indefinitely postponed[edit]

Country Name Launch due
 Japan Lunar-A 2004 Integrated into Russia’s Luna-Glob 1 mission[30]
 Germany LEO 2012 Mission postponed indefinitely due to budgetary constraints[31]
 UK MoonLITE[32][33] 2014
 USA Constellation program 2020 Mission cancelled by Congress[34]
 USA MoonRise[35] 2018 Not funded by NASA in 2011 funding competition

See also