Die Welt (Germany): a new era of space exploration

Recently, when two American astronauts went to the International space station on a launch vehicle and manned the ship of the company Elon musk, chief of NASA Jim Breidenstein (Jim Bridenstine) called this the beginning of a new era of manned space exploration. This is true — for many reasons.

First, now US get rid of dependence on Russian space technology, which lasted nearly a decade. After I had closed the program “space Shuttle” in 2011, the United States did not have its own system of transporting people into space. They could send astronauts to the ISS only with the help of Soyuz rockets launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome.

Secondly, a private company carried out the launch vehicle, the Falcon 9 and a manned spacecraft Crew Dragon has shown that the state in the future is going to play in space not such a big role, but if you consider the huge financial costs, it is another way for him not.

During the cold war and under the influence of the shock caused by the launch of the Soviet Sputnik, Astronautics has become almost military-organized industry. Today we have an opportunity to give market forces greater freedom of action, making the development and construction of spacecraft and rockets will be more efficient, and space in General will be less costly. It is believed that the launch vehicle “Falcon-9” Elon musk — the most expensive vehicle to fly into space at the moment.

The increased role of private aerospace firms are already calling the “new space” (New Space). But this slogan does not hide the fact that space flight, even at maximum business performance will remain very expensive and most projects will never be profitable. In 2024 the United States wants to once again send humans to the moon, but while this is no business model that would allow to recoup project costs, not to mention how to make it profitable.

For landing on the moon in the future will have to pay with taxpayers ‘ money. This principle applies to all scientific projects as the moon landing primarily serves the interests of science.

But in this case, there are other aspects. “We must give people hope. We need to give them something that they will look like a dream come true,” says Jim Breidenstein, referring to the second after the “Apollo” manned lunar program of the USA. She received a symbolic name “Artemis”. In Greek mythology Artemis — the moon goddess and twin sister of Apollo.

And “Artemis” NASA is stressing the private companies. In this case, the concern “Boeing”, which builds super-heavy carrier rocket (Space Launch System) and manned the ship with a beautiful name “Orion”. The spirit of the “new cosmos” corresponds to that for the first time a foreign company entrusted with the execution of the major infrastructure project for a manned mission.

Docking with the spacecraft “Orion”, the ESM module, which houses all the major life-support systems astronauts will deliver the European concern “Airbus”. Modules scheduled for 2021 unmanned test flight, and for the first flight of the astronauts who at the first stage only needs to fly around the moon, was commissioned to build the designers from Bremen. They recently received an order for the third module ESM, which will be used in 2024 during the first landing of men on the moon under the program “Artemis”.

This can be interpreted to mean that the Americans are planning a new manned mission to the moon. Trump has already said that he dreams of the day when the person’s hand will stick an American flag in Martian soil.

The aerospace company had previously adopted the state-funded taxpayers ‘ money orders. So it was with the “new space”. But there are space projects, which in the future it will be possible to earn money. For example, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos (Jeff Bezos) want to send into near-earth space solvent tourists and to keep them there in a specially placed orbiting space hotels.

Both know that the money one can earn in commercial satellite networks that provide worldwide mobile telephony and Internet access. Musk has already started to build such a network called “Starlink”. It consists of tens of thousands of mini-satellites with long service life and are due to start in North America next year.

Another profitable use of space — mining valuable raw materials on asteroids or lunar helium-3, which can be used as fuel for fusion reactors.

In the United States there are now several competing aerospace firms, making America better prepared for a new era of space exploration than Europe. For many years, the European rocket “Arian” were the leaders in the market of commercial launches of satellites. But in the era of “new space” competitiveness of rockets “Arian” is under threat. Rockets can now be ordered not only in the US but where it is much cheaper — for example, in India or China.

In this regard, an important rather restrained activity of Europe in search of their own access to space. This aspect is strategically important and can provide Europe independence.

While in the US, for example, Space X gets big money for launches for NASA and can thus engage in cross-subsidization of other projects in Europe, the state contractor for the European satellite can’t order the launch company Arianespace. After all, other places have better deals. So the European space policy eventually brought to the absurd.