European Space Agency to help NASA take humans beyond moon
Picture shows view into the control room at the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany, Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2017 12:22PM EST
BERLIN -- The European Space Agency says it will contribute key components for a future NASA mission to take humans around the moon within the next few years.
Astronauts haven't gone beyond a low orbit around Earth since 1972, when NASA ended its Apollo program.
The European Space Agency and aerospace company Airbus have already delivered a propulsion and supply module for an unmanned flight of NASA's new Orion spacecraft next year.
The agency said Wednesday that it and Airbus have now agreed with NASA to build a module for a second, manned mission that will fly around the moon as early as 2021.
Orion is eventually intended to expand human exploration to deep-space destinations such as Mars or asteroids.