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Private company will launch first astronauts to space

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 27 may 2020, 5:53 por Plataforma Sites Dgac   [ actualizado el 11 sept 2020, 6:11 ]
On Saturday, May 30, 2020, the eyes of the scientific establishment and of millions of people and enthusiasts in the United States and on the planet, including Chile, will be set on the takeoff of the Crew Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral, after the postponement of the launch originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, due to bad weather conditions.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnke in a launchpad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the United States or America.

The Crew Dragon capsule from private aerospace company SpaceX.
For the US military and politicians, this milestone becomes relevant and surely their attention and their eyes will be on the skies of Cape Canaveral, in the state of Florida, from where the joint mission between the US Space Agency (NASA) and the private aerospace company SpaceX will rise to the sky.

It will be the first time in 10 years that American astronauts take off in a rocket from that country’s soil after the end of the era of space shuttles, which were decommissioned in 2011. 

Apart from this milestone, the most important thing about the mission is that for the first time a private company, with its own technological development and designs, is transporting two astronauts into space.

This marks the beginning of a new era in which private companies will compete or complement each other with the main space agencies in the world to go out into the cosmos, explore and seek new horizons. 

The Falcon 9 

This time, two American astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, will soar from Cape Canaveral Complex 39A aboard a Crew Dragon capsule on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (which can be reusable) to travel to the International Space Station on the "SpaceX Demo-2" mission. 

The importance of the mission is that the partnership between NASA and SpaceX could mark the end of the US Space Agency's dependence on Russian Soyuz space capsules to put its astronauts in orbit and, by doing that, motivate the private enterprises from that country to implement systems that take astronauts and tourists to space. 

In the meanwhile, NASA puts its best efforts to materialize the return to the Moon, the construction of the Space Station “Gateway” around the satellite, to establish a permanent colony and prepare the manned trip to Mars. 

Technological independence 

“This is a case worth analyzing. For almost 10 years, the United States depended on Russia for all kinds of transportation to the International Space Station. Normally, an American, a Japanese and a Russian traveled in the Soyuz space capsule, for example. Now there are two Americans,” said Héctor Gutiérrez, the director of the Chilean Space Association. 

“A few months ago, the United States created a Space Force. So this is an indication, a sign, that this country wants to regain its technological independence and sovereignty to have its own means in space exploration,” he added. 

New era 

According to NASA, if the mission is successful it will mark a milestone in the space race.

“A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011,” reads an official text on the American space agency’s website, which added that the duration of the mission is yet to be determined.

“As SpaceX’s final flight test, it will validate all aspects of its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon spacecraft, spacesuits, Falcon 9 launch vehicle, launch pad 39A and operations capabilities,” NASA added. 

The Crew Dragon capsule made by tycoon Elon Musk’s company has an eye-catching design. It has room for a maximum of seven passengers and touchscreens, such as those of cell phones and tablets, which will replace the old lever and button systems. 

“We designed it with the idea that it would be amazing and look beautiful,” said mission director Benji Reed. 

“A tremendous milestone”

Along the same lines, the Chilean pilot, aerospace engineer and astronaut candidate Klaus Von Storch remarked that the partnership between NASA and SpaceX began years ago, but until now the private firm had only carried out logistical transport. 

“It is a tremendous milestone that was achieved when NASA had budget cuts and saw that the participation of private companies could serve to address the costs issue,” he explains. 

“With this, an opportunity opens up not only for NASA, but for the rest of the world, so that space tourism can develop in a better way, in addition to the development of medicines and a myriad of activities that take place in space”, added Von Storch, who also highlighted that the mission brings with it a change in the design of the spacesuits and in the monitoring systems, which have state-of-the-art technology.

The Falcon 9 rocket will take off from Cape Canaveral on Saturday, May 30, 15:30, Chilean time.