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WIRED Manual for Commercial Spacecraft Years



the morning on December 13, 2018, Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo set off on a strong runway in Mojave, California, ready for takeoff. He screamed like a regular passenger plane, a twin-engined catamaran of an airplane that traveled by owner Richard Branson, who clapped the airplane on the sidewalk. But WhiteKnightTwo was not just an airplane space an airplane called SpaceShipTwo, which will be the first private craft to be regularly transferred to tourists from this planet.

WhiteKnightTwo ran and got up and got ready to go up to 50,000 feet. From this height the nozzle would release SpaceShipTwo; his two pilots would fire the engines and strengthen the vessel into space.

"3 … 2 … 1 …" words came over the radio.

SpaceShipTwo dropped like an elegant stone, free.

"Fire, fire," said the regulator.

On command, he fired from the engines of the vessel. Containers smoked the crests of the mountains as the spaceship flew up and up and up. Soon both the fire protection and the fire stopped: SpaceShipTwo simply floating. The Arc of the Earth curved behind the window, except in the darkness of the rest of the universe. A hanging on-board ornament, shaped like a snowflake, was in the cabin micrograph.

"Welcome to space," he said. And with Virgin Galactic flying their first astronauts who were not heroes sponsored by governments of old but private citizens working for a private company.

For most of the history of space flight, people have exploited such exploits by governments. From the middle of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo to a 30-year shuttle program, NASA has dominated US space efforts. Today, however, companies that run powerful billionaires – who have made big money in other industries and are now using them to fulfill dreams with starry eyes – took a torch or at least part of their fire.

Ms. Galacticka identifies with its style as a tourist equipment, and space hopes of this kind often talk about the philosophical rise – a promising shift that happens when people see Earth as a real planet in real space. Other companies want to help establish a permanent residence on the moon and / or on Mars and sometimes talk about fate and salvation. There are many gestures towards the power of the human spirit and the undeniable exploratory nature of our species.

But let us not forget, of course, that money is theoretically produced; and the federal government is already flying astronauts. After completing the shuttle program in 2011, the US no longer had the ability to send people to space and have since relied on Russia. But this will change: today two private companies – Boeing and SpaceX – have entered into contracts with people at the International Space Station.

But before NASA's broadcasting programs began to shrink, business moguls realized what they could do if they had their own private missiles. They could carry supplies to a space station for the budget government. They can launch satellites. They could take tourists to suborbital excursions. They could support industrial infrastructure in deep space. They could settle the Moon and Mars. People could become a kind that has never been prevented, and they often travel – or even live for a long time – from Earth. It is exciting: After all, science's fantastic science – the great predictor and creator of the future – has told us for decades that space is another (ultimate) boundary, and we (could, can not) just go and live there.

Private space societies have taken small steps towards this long-term, large-scale presence in space, and 2019 has more promise than most years. However, the deadlines are still slipping: as a cold fusion, private travel is always around the corner. Maybe there is also a part of the delay, as private human space travel – and in particular extended private human space travel – is an almost unconfirmed business model, and most of these companies spend a large amount of their money on businesses that have little to do with people: Frequently operations that generate revenue here and now include splicing satellites and supplies near by not sending people far. But because the most promising plans are supported by billionaires with big agendas – and in some sense directed at other wealthy people – science fiction could become a cosmic fact.

History of the Private Human Space Flight

Today the spacecraft capitalists call their new space, although in the previous days the thinkers spoke of "alt.space". You can say that everything began in 1982 when Space Services launched its first privately-funded rocket: the modified Minuteman missile, which Conestogo I called (after the car, to get it?). The flight was just a demonstration by putting a fictitious payload of 40 pounds of water. Two years later, however, the US passed the 1984 Commercial Space Act and cleaned up the pad for private activity.

Human passengers climbed aboard in 2001 when a financier named Dennis Tito bought a place on the Russian Soyuz rocket and took $ 20 million, an almost eight-day space shuttle trip. The space adventures that organized this precious flight would further send six other astro-dilettans to the orbit through the Russian space agency.

That same year, a guy named Elon Musk, who is to be rich in PayPal, announced a plan called Mars Oasis. With a lot of money, he wanted to boost public support for a human settlement on the Red Planet, so pressure on the public would force Congress to commission a mission on Mars. Through the organization he founded under the name of the Life to Mars Foundation, Musk proposed the following private funding start: $ 20 million of Mars Lander, carrying a greenhouse that could be filled with Martian soil, which may be launched in 2005.

$ 6.8 billion

The potential value of NASA's contracts with SpaceX and Boeing to take astronauts from the space station.

This, you note, has never happened – partly because of the cost of triggering such a future garden was so high. The US missile would cost him $ 65 million (roughly $ 92 million in $ 2018), a reconstructed Russian ICBM about $ 10 million. A year later, Musk decided to lower the rocket barrier. Moving from the "foundation" to the "corporation", SpaceX began, a rocket company with the explicit endpoint of Mars.

In the early days, he was not the only one who wanted to send people into space. Pilot (and then cosmonaut) Mike Melvill flew SpaceShipOne, which resembled a bullet that grew frog's legs into space in 2004. After this test flight and two subsequent trips, SpaceShipOne received the X-Prize of $ 10 million. These flights combined two new space dreams: a privately developed craft and private pilots of astronauts. After victory, Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites have developed high-flying technology into SpaceShipTwo. In 2009, Mrs. Virgin was unveiled, this passenger ship was set up for tourists in the universe … at the cost of the average house. (After all, why have a home forever when you can go into space for five minutes ???)

$ 3.5 billion

Value of NASA's first contracts with SpaceX and orbital sciences (now part of Northrop Grumman) for delivery to ISS from 2009 to 2016

Virgin Galactic has always kept its focus close to home and short but frequent flights that remain suborbital. Musk, however, stuck to his original Martian mission. After launching its first missile in orbit in 2008, SpaceX received a NASA contract for bus delivery to and from the space station and still sells cargo to the agency. The launch, however, really got its feet in 2012 and 2013, when it launched a squatty rocket named Kobylka. Though it did not swing high, it landed on the trigger platform back, where it could rise again (like a carver). This recyclability has paved the way for today's reusable Falcon 9 rockets that rose up and down and helped to transform the science of rocket science from one option to one recyclability.

Virgin Galactic

From Virgin Records to Virgin Atlantic to Virgin Mobile, Richard Branson earned money around the block.

WhiteKnightTwo + SpaceShipTwo

The colored Virgin Galactic plane has a spacecraft that can carry up to six passengers and two pilots just beyond the edge of the universe so they can experience a few minutes of weightlessness and incredible views. Richard Branson hopes to enter mid-year and soon to follow tourists.

Mussel's goal, as the failure of Mars Oasis, has always been to reduce start-up costs. Today, SpaceX Falcon 9's reusable spacecraft costs $ 50-60 million – there are still a lot, but less than $ 100 million, of some of their competitors. Arriving in space, thinking, should not be the biggest obstacle for future cosmic faces. If SpaceX is able to do so, the company – theoretically – once can send Mars to a line of supplies and people needed to fulfill the Musk "MAKE LIFE MULTIPLANETARY" password.

But the way to multiplanet was not always smooth for SpaceX. Its reusable rockets hit the ocean, hit the sea, hit the boats, overturn the ships, fly through the air, rotate, explode through the center of the flight, and explode on the starting surface.

However, the course of real new space has never gone smoothly and SpaceX is far from the only company that has experienced falls. Virgin Galactic, for example, faced a tragedy in 2014 when pilot Pilot Pete Siebold and roommate Michael Alsbury were in SpaceShipTwo under the WhiteKnight.

Blue origin

Jeff Bezos, of Amazon glory and wealth, is still very married with space efforts.

The new Shepard

The modified Blue Origin rocket will have a crew and a payload of 11-minute suborbital years and will land as gently as a pen painted on the body. The goal is to send the first crew this year.

New Glenn

Blue Origin says he wants this heavy, recyclable rocket "to set the way into space". This launcher is likely to debut in 2021.

Flight SpaceShipTwo was not scheduled. SpaceShipTwo has a "flexible mechanism" that, when unlocked and switched on, slows down the ship to land safely. But Alsbury unlocked it early and dragged the craft while his rockets still shot. Aerodynamic forces torn SpaceShipTwo and killed Alsbury. Siebold fell, alive, to the ground. Several customers have been canceled. Most wanted to go into space, although the industry has a higher risk and low regulation than lower business flights.

Meanwhile another major company – Blue Origin – silently worked out its plans for human missions. This heavenly enterprise, funded by the founder of Amazonia Jeff Bezos, began in 2000 – before Musk had to launch SpaceX – but remained quite unbelievable for years. Then, in April 2015 a start test, a re-usable New Shepard rocket would rise. She successfully put on a capsule but failed to land. But in November, the new Shepard did what he had: he touched back and defeated SpaceX to do that.

Blue, like Virgin Galactic, wants to use its small rocket to send suborbital space tourists. And he wants, with bigger rockets, to help ease the standing lunar colony. Bezos has suggested that the heavy industry should be outside this planet, in places where it is already biting, but has mild resources. The first lunar landing, he says, could be in 2023, which would make it easier for the Earth, which is mostly zoned and light industrial.

SpaceX also has a great 2023 plans. The company announced last September that in 2023 it would send the Japanese tycoon Yusak Maezawa and the companions passport for a moon trip. NASA also entered into a contract with the company and, together with Boeing, to transport cosmonauts to and from the ISS within a commercial crew program that will begin testing people this year.

However, due to the awareness of these companies with greater insight, Virgin Galactic remains the only private enterprise that actually sent a private person into the space on a private vehicle.

The Future of a Private Human Space Flight

The way in which these societies see the future will (normally, of course) normalize travel in the cosmos – whether it is a journey through the Karman line or another heavenly body. Spacecraft travels through passengers and experiments on suborbital sites, touching back down in less time than to watch The right thing. Rockets will run and land and re-launch, transmit satellites and transport physical and biological cargo to the Moon's industrial base or the Martian home base, where settlers will ensure that the species survives, even if the terro apocalypse (nuclear, climate) company is. Homo sapiens shows his destiny, and turns out to be a brave pioneer who always knew it. And the idea that we do not have to be stuck forever in one cosmic place is exciting!

But all of these businesses are businesses, not philanthropic perspectives. Does life create an occasional, cosmopolitan and truly interplanetary, true, credible financial perspective? More importantly, is it desirable?

Let's start with the low key suborbital space travel of Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin that we would like to offer. Some economists consider it fairly feasible: If we know one thing about the world, it is that some subgroups of people will always have too much money and will be able to cope with the cold things they do not have for plebs. Should these flights become a routine, their cost could fall and space tourism could follow the trajectory of the commercial aviation industry that used to be rich and now is home to Spirit Airlines. Some also speculate that longer, orbital flights – and sleeping in smart six-star space hotels (extra star for space) – could follow.

Once there is a market for space hotels, another infrastructure can follow. And if you build something for space, it could be easier and cheaper to build it in space, with materials from space rather than spending billions to run all the materials you need. Perhaps lunar miners and producers could establish a proto-colony that could lead to someone living there permanently.

Or not. Who knows? I can not see the future, and you can not even, and these billionaires can not.

But with long journeys or permanent residence, problems are more complex than whether money is feasible or whether it is possible to build a cute urban square of lunar dust. The most complex part of the human exploration of the universe will always be human.

We weak creatures have evolved in an environment this planet. Mutations and adaptations have emerged to make us uniquely adapted to life – and so uniquely No suitable for life in space or in Valles Marineris. It's too cold or too hot; there is no air to breathe; You can not eat potatoes grown in their own sights for the rest of your unnatural life. Your personal microbes can affect everything from digestion to immunity to mood, as scientists do not understand, and although they do not understand how space affects this microbe, it will probably not be the same if you live on an alien crater as it would be in your apartment.

In addition, in less seriousness, your muscles are released. Fluids inside your pool strangely. Medicines do not always work as expected. The shape of the brain changes. Your mind is foggy. The back of the eyebrows flattens. And then there is radiation that can aggravate tissue, cause cardiovascular disease, confuse the nervous system, give you cancer or just cause direct radiation illness until death. If your body rises, you could still lose it to your crew members, get home (planetsick) and you definitely bored from the skull along the way and during the boredom and the work that you will follow.

There may be a technological future in which we can alleviate all these effects. After all, many things that were once unimaginable – from vaccines to quantum mechanics – are now well understood. But billionaires do not usually work on people's problems: When they talk about space cities, they leave out details – and their money is heading to physics, not to biology.

They also do not talk much about costs or ways to compensate them. But Blue Origin and SpaceX are hoping to work with NASA for their far-reaching business, making this kind of private space flight more public-friendly partnership. Both have gained many millions in contracts with NASA and the Department of Defense for closer-term projects such as launching national security satellites and developing additional infrastructure to do so more often. Virgin has Virgin Orbit, which is broadcasting small satellites, and SpaceX aims to create its own gigantic smallsat constellation to ensure global coverage of the Internet. And at least in the foreseeable future, it is likely that their revenues will continue to flow more from satellites than from infrastructure abroad. In this sense, although they are new, they are just conventional government contractors.

SpaceX

Elon Musk earned his first fortune on PayPal.

Falcon 9 + Dragon

SpaceX will also ship astronauts and accessories to NASA's International Space Station, and on his way, the Falcon lands alone, while the dragon capsules shatter. Bonus: The company boasts that passengers can set an internal temperature anywhere from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The first crew test may appear in mid-2019.

Super Heavy + Starship

Formerly known as BFR (Big Falcon Rocket or Big Fucking Rocket, depending on what kind of person you are talking about), SpaceX and its human capsule have 100 people and 150 tons of cargo on the Red Planet. Musk revealed a smaller, suborbital prototype in January, and its shiny silver side and scientific sci-fi shapes look as if the 50th diner dreamed of becoming a rocket. His first test should be held sometime this year.

So if the money is getting closer, why do they look beyond Earth's orbit? Why not maintain a lucrative trade in satellite broadcasting or in enabling communications? Yes, yes, the human spirit. OK, of course, the ability to survive. Both sublime, energizing targets. However, representatives may also be interested in creating space states in international waters that are full of people who can afford a trip (or possibly representative workers who will work in exchange for a ticket). Perhaps the celestial population is connected to utopian society, rid of the mess we have created from this planet. People could start from scratch somewhere else, clean up something new and better on the extraterrestrial tabula of the soil race. Or maybe, as on Earth, history would be repeated, and human luggage would be the hardest cost for colonial ships. After all, wherever you go, you are there.

Perhaps we would be better off as if we stayed home and looked at our problems right in the eyes. This is the conclusion of scientist Gary Westfahl, who appears in an essay entitled "The Case Against the Universe." Westfahl does not think innovation will happen when you switch to the neighborhood and run from your troubles, but rather when you stick to and deal with the situation you have created.

United Launch Alliance and Boeing

No billionaire here. Only a military-industrial complex joins forces with itself. For the past 15 years, this rocket has been 100 percent successful.

Atlas V + Starliner

Atlas V, manufactured by the United Launch Alliance, joint venture Lockheed Martin and Boeing, will join Boeing's CST-100 Starliner, which will ship to astronauts and scientific experiments to the ISS. Starliner can fly ten times until he gets a six-month refractory period – for renewal and exams – between each trip. The first crew test may appear in mid-2019.

In addition, most Americans do not think traveling with human space is a major task at all, at least not with their money. According to the Pew survey of 2018, more than 60 percent of people claim that NASA has the highest priority to monitor the climate and track the earth's asteroid crash. Only 18 percent and 13 percent think the same thing about the human journey to Mars or the Moon. People, in other words, are more interested in care this planet and preserve life on it than it is that they make another world viable.

Maybe one thing: History is full of billionaires who do what they want and is full of social twists and turns dictated in their direction. In addition, if even a fraction of a percentage of the US population joined a long-term space mission, their space ship would still bring the largest extraterrestrial deal ever in the solar system. Even if it was not an oasis or utopia, it would still be a giant leap.

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Last updated on January 30, 2019

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