New Space Race to The Moon. Who is Going to Fly
New Space Race to The Moon. Who is Going to Fly
Many countries have set their sights on the moon. The so-called moon race can start again. Who is going to fly and how soon will people be able to conquer space?
First Space Tourist
It is very boring to travel alone. Japanese billionaire began searching for a girl to fly to the moon. Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced the launch of a show aimed to find a girl for a relationship and a joint flight to the moon!
The advertising company says that Yusaku “wants to go to this special place with someone special.”
The competition is open to single women over 20 years who have “bright” personalities, want to fully enjoy life and peace in the world. She should also be interested in space flights.
Maezawa will be the first space tourist to be delivered to the Moon by Elon Musk SpaceX. Moreover, he will be the first unprofessional astronaut in orbit of Earth. The entire flight, as SpaceX reported, would take about a week.
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said that Starship could begin flying without a crew to the moon already in 2022. But this seems to be a very ambitious assessment.
Back in 2018, HB reported that the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced that in 2023 he would go on a trip around the moon on a BFR rocket.
Although the rocket is still under construction, Maezawa has already signed a flight contract. He bought all the free space in a huge spaceship. He is going to take musicians, photographers, directors, artists, people of other creative professions with him on this flight.
Blue Origin Blue Moon Project: People on the Moon by 2024
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin and Amazon, announced that his company’s lander would deliver cargo (and possibly humans) to the south pole of the moon by 2024.
“This is an incredible device, and it will go to the moon,” he said.
Jeff did not name a specific timeline for the implementation of the “Blue Moon” project. However, he mentioned that the lander would be ready in time exactly for President Trump’s plans to return the Americans to the moon by 2024:
“We can help meet these deadlines, but only because we started work 3 years ago,” Bezos said. “It’s time to return to the moon, but this time to stay.”
For the first time, the Blue Moon project became known on March 2, 2017, from a publication in The Washington Post, which also belongs to the businessman. On April 26, Blue Origin published a snapshot of the Endurance vessel by Ernest Shackleton, when he and his crew tried to get to the Antarctic. As it became known from the presentation, the goal of the flight of the first lander should be the homonymous 21-km lunar crater Shackleton. It has a depth of about 4.2 km and is located close to the South Pole of the Moon.
According to the current Blue Origin development schedule, the basic version of the lander will be ready to fly to the moon in 2023 and it will probably deliver some equipment to the future astronaut landing site. The full version of “Blue Moon” with landing and take-off devices will be tested in 2024 with astronauts on board, after which people will immediately land on the moon.
NASA Revealed Plans for 2020
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spoke about the agency’s plans for 2020. According to reports, this year the American department is going to continue preparing the new NASA lunar program called Artemis 1, which provides for flights to the moon.
We are talking about testing rockets, planning commercial flights to the moon for research, preparing a lunar rover to search for water on the moon, and testing a new generation of a spacesuit.
Also, the space agency is about to launch an American astronaut on the SpaceX and Boeing spacecraft to the International Space Station. The department plans to create a unique laboratory in orbit, launch a new rover, an international mission to study the Sun, and more.
NASA Competes with China and Elon Musk
Is it possible due to this background to talk about a new “moon race”? According to Ramon “Ray” Lugo III, the Director of the Florida Space Institute, Beijing has a “clear lunar program.” Besides, between the United States and China, “there is a race in many technological fields,” adds Lugo. In January, the Chinese managed to make the first-ever successful landing of an unmanned spacecraft on the far side of the moon.
As reported by an expert who worked for many years at NASA, Russia, although, it continues to successfully manned launches to the ISS, it is hardly a US competitor in the exploration of the moon. Ramon Lugo believes that in a “moon race” the United States is in a sense competing with itself: the competition is between NASA and private companies such as SpaceX Elon Musk. The plan voiced by Pence, Lugo considers too optimistic. According to him, by 2024 it is possible to launch astronauts into the orbit of the moon, and landing on the surface is closer to 2030. It can be accelerated only if NASA uses private Musk rockets, which are being developed for flying to Mars. However, there are different conditions on Mars and the Moon.
Corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics Andrey Ionin believes that there is no “moon race”, but there are “internal political motives” of the United States ‒ the preparation of Pence as a candidate for the presidential campaign of 2024. Officially, Pence did not make such statements. At the same time, the Russian expert believes that the United States has a chance to land on the moon in the next five years ‒ “as a one-time project.”
Will Russia Participate in The “Moon Race”?
Ionin is convinced that neither Russia nor China will “enter the moon race” announced by the United States, but for various reasons. “Russia is not ready now to take part in such a race alone due to financial and technological capabilities, as well as the state of the space industry,” he says. Given the limited resources, Moscow will behave pragmatically and will not allow itself to be drawn into the costly competition, Andrei Ionin is sure.
Nevertheless, work in the lunar direction is underway. Since mid-March, a four-month experiment on simulating a Sirius-19 flight to the moon has been taking place in Moscow, mainly with the participation of Russian scientists. In 2021, Roscosmos plans to start a series of launches of automatic stations to the moon, as it was in Soviet times. The astronaut’s landing on the moon is planned no earlier than the 2030s. It is assumed that they will go there on a new, not yet ready Federation ship, with the help of the new Yenisei super-heavy rocket being developed, the launch of which is scheduled for 2028.
Europe Helps the USA but Awaits Clear Signals
EU intends to participate in NASA-led Gateway Orbital Lunar Station International Project. Now this project is at the planning stage. Russia also showed interest in it, but at the end of last year, the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said that the Russian Federation was not ready to participate in its implementation “in the background.”
Also, the European Space Agency (ESA) has created a service module for the NASA Orion spacecraft, which, among other things, will provide astronauts with fuel for the spacecraft’s engines, water, and oxygen. It was made mainly in Germany. “For us, this is a great success ‒ we supply critical components for the Americans,” says Thomas Jarzombek, the Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy.
February 22, 2019, at the launch of the lunar rover Beresheet. This is the first private moon rover in the world. The project was developed by the non-profit startup SpaceIL with the support of specialists from the Israeli aerospace industry. Beresheet flew to the moon for several weeks. Flying to the moon takes much less time. As a result, Beresheet made a hard landing on the moon due to problems with the main engine.
This is the smallest lunar rover of all that ever sat on the moon: in size, it is slightly larger than a washing machine ‒ 1.5 m in diameter and weighing 600 kilograms. There was a copy of the Torah on the board.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that the country would try again to send the device to the moon in a few years.
“If for the first time it didn’t work out, try again,” said the prime minister, who watched the crash live from the control center.
The Chinese Academy of Space Technology has shown a ship on which they plan to send people to the moon soon.
While the American NASA and SpaceX annually announce the imminent return of their astronauts to the moon, Chinese engineers have no less ambitious plans for space exploration and are also going to send people to the moon.
The Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST) even showed a manned spacecraft, which will be used for the first flights to a natural terrestrial satellite.
The two-module ship weighs 20 tons, and its length is about 10 meters. It is planned that the new ship will accommodate up to six people and will be able to deliver them outside the Earth’s orbit. China now uses the 8-ton ship Shenzhou, which can deliver up to three people to the International Space Station, but this device is not intended for flights into deep space.
The presented ship has not yet been named, but it should become a competitor to the American Orion from NASA, the CST-100 Starliner from Boeing and the Crew Dragon from SpaceX.
It is planned that the spacecraft will make its first test flights in early 2020, and the Chinese heavy missile Long March 5B, which can lift up to 20 tons into low Earth orbit, will act as a carrier.
The ship can also be used for flights to the Chinese space station Tiangong-2. The first Chinese astronauts should go to the moon not earlier than 2030.
Recall that at the beginning of 2019, the Chinese National Space Administration for the first time in history landed the Chang’e-4 lunar probe on the far side of the moon.
Previously, none of the space states could send their landers to the far side of the Moon, since the rocky shell of the Earth’s satellite prevents the passage of signals for communication and makes it impossible to control any robotic probes and moon rovers.
July 22, India launched the “Chandrayaan-2” spacecraft, which is supposed to deliver a lunar rover landing module to the moon.
India plans to make a new attempt at an unmanned flight to the moon in 2020. Indian authorities want the launch to take place in November 2020. In July 2019, India was preparing to become the fourth country in the world that successfully landed on the surface of the moon and the first to land on the south pole of the satellite. But the Chandrayaan-2 module crashed during landing in September 2019.
The construction of a new launch module, landing module, and ground all-terrain vehicle will cost $ 35 million.