Jim Bridenstine
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has 5 years to prepare for moon mission. Pictured: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (L) and Office of Space Commerce Director Kevin O'Connell testify before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The pressure is on as NASA has five years to prepare before the space agency can start bringing U.S. astronauts back to the Moon. This timeline was given at the fifth meeting of the National Space Council at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama.

The announcement was shared by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as part of the agency’s mandate to once again dominate the global race in space. Admittedly, the agency needs all the help it can get to achieve the goal of once more bringing Americans on the lunar surface. But one private firm seems to be more than willing to be part of this journey — Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

In a tweet posted early this week, Musk declared that his space company will be ready to bring humans to space in five years. The Tesla CEO was answering a question in reference to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s declaration that the United States would send humans to the Moon in five years, which Bridenstine affirmed.

“For sure worth giving it our best shot! Would be great to have a competitive, commercial program to build a Moon base that is outcome-oriented (not cost-plus), so you only get paid for safe delivery of cargo,” Musk said.

For years, SpaceX’s Chief Engineer has been transparent in his lofty goal of being the first private group to conquer space. He announced last year that they have major plans to not only bring the first “moon tourists” to space but also to reach the surface of Planet Mars.

The space agency is currently in the last stages of developing the Starship spacecraft in its Boca Chica test facility in Texas. The spaceship is expected to be a multi-use vehicle that will be used in both Mars missions and the agency’s plans to start building a Moon base.

During an earlier Senate committee hearing, Bridenstine also said that they are seriously considering the use of commercial rockets for a lunar crew test flight instead of using the agency’s SLS spacecraft.

"We need to consider as an agency all options to accomplish that objective. Some of those options would include launching the Orion crew capsule and the European service module on a commercial rocket," Bridenstine said.

Apart from SpaceX, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) can also be part of NASA’s Moon program. The two private space agencies are part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

“America will once again astonish the world with the heights we reach, the wonders we achieve and we will lead the world in human space exploration once again,” Vice President Pence said during the space council meeting.