NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will announce that Marshall Space Flight Center will manage the lunar lander program.

Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will announce that Marshall Space Flight Center will manage the lunar lander program. (credit: NASA)

On Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will visit the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. At 3pm local time, he will address employees in an "all hands" meeting in Morris Auditorium to make an announcement regarding the space agency's Artemis program to land humans on the Moon by 2024.

According to multiple sources, Bridenstine plans to announce that the Alabama-based field center will manage the program to develop the lunar lander for the Moon program. In political terms, this is a big win for the center, which has powerful congressional backing in both the US Senate as well as the House of Representatives. (Employees were, umm, strongly encouraged to attend the meeting).

As part of the carefully negotiated agreement, Marshall will have responsibility for the overall program as well as two elements of what is planned to be a three-stage lander. The center in northern Alabama will oversee commercial development of the Transfer Element—planned to ferry the lander from the Lunar Gateway down to low-lunar orbit—as well as the Descent Element that will fly down to the surface.

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