Soon a new space age will begin.
Or at least that's what NASA thinks.
More than four decades after the last landing on the moon, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States (NASA) is preparing to send a man back to the moon … and on.
Orion, the ship, created in collaboration with the European Space Agency, will be the vehicle for the “legendary” trip, the purpose of which is to follow the course of space to Mars and other hidden places of the “deep space”.
And, after several years of testing, the capsule received last Friday the last impulse necessary for work: the module developed by Airbus, which will provide it with electricity, engine, thermal management, air and water.
For the first time, NASA uses a device built in Europe. as an essential element for controlling a US spacecraft, which, according to experts, takes into account “international cooperation in space issues”, but also the scope of the project.
According to the US space agency, although Orion will initially perform an unmanned mission, the goal, in addition to attracting astronauts into space, is to create an outpost of the Moon that could allow an expedition to Mars.
Although there are no exact dates for the first manned expedition, it is believed that it will take place at the beginning of the 2020 decade.
According to the head of the European Space Agency, Jan Warner, this will be a “completely new way” to travel to space and return to a “new type” of the Moon.
If the expedition is completed, Orion will ship intended for the carriage of the crew, which further comes as man reached space more than half a century ago,
Orion, the space hunter
The design, production and testing of spacecraft with which NASA intends to launch this new space age have a long and bumpy road.
The initial idea appeared in 2011 as part of Constellation, the idea of the government of George W. Bush to return the man to the moon, and it was suspended due to lack of budget with the advent of the government of Barack Obama.
However, NASA continued to develop the capsule.
Although the initial project assumed that Orion would take six people in its missions, the number eventually fell to four, and led to the creation of one of its two main modules for ESA (which was received this Friday at Cape Canaveral).
According to NASA's description, the five-millimeter, 21-ton capsule design takes the basic elements from the Apollo command module, the famous mission ships that delivered astronauts to the moon from 1969 to 1972.
However, the space agency ensures that Orion’s technologies and capabilities enable the use of more advanced and long-term space missions.
It is estimated that he can travel with the crew on board without any new conditions for up to 21 days, while in a state of inactivity he can maintain the utility conditions for another 6 months.
During this last period, according to NASA, it is expected that life support for the crew will be provided by other space modules.
This week, NASA also tested one of the most revolutionary functions a spacecraft would have: a descent module that combines parachutes and a retro-rocket or airbags to restore the capsule when it returns to Earth.
According to the agency, this mechanism, similar to the one used by the Russian Soyuz capsules or the Chinese Shenzhou, will eliminate the costs of using the fleet of ships, as it used to be on Mercury, Gemini or Apollo flights.
Another feature is that it is intended for partial re-use of the crew module, which can be used for 10 flights, which will reduce costs and also allow you to create a fleet of these devices.
So the ship can also serve the space station, its design will allow you to automatically connect to other vehicles, although the pilot can take a command as a security measure and perform a maneuver in case of emergencies.
New space era
Since 1972, when the last landing on the moon was made, until recently, trips to the moon or beyond it have lost interest.
But in recent years, more public and private initiatives have emerged that not only announce a return to the satellite, but also ambitious plans for colonization, most of which are based on cheaper technologies and the manufacture of spacecraft.
For example, China plans to build land in 2018, and Russia announced that by 2031 it will send a ship there.
Meanwhile, many private initiatives are currently looking for a space business model, ranging from mining on the Moon and selling satellite pieces as gems.
And, apparently, the United States does not want to be left.
The US space agency for many years argued that there are even greater reasons to return to the moon.
NASA believes that the return of man there can bring more knowledge about lunar science and will allow to apply new technologies on the ground.
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