What are the next flights not to be missed for SpaceX?

We have all carefully followed the first beginnings of this umpteenth company of Elon Musk, whose progress is just as surprising as for the others. The conquest of space, what a vast program! However, many SpaceX missions have already been completed for this growing company. We can cite the success of the super-heavy Falcon Heavy launcher. And, today (11/24/2021), the start of the DART (Double Asteroid Direction Test) mission aimed at deflecting an asteroid from its trajectory.

So, in light of his exploits, we’re taking you on board to show you three of SpaceX’s next missions!

On the way to the Moon for NASA!

SpaceX’s SN15 Starship on its launch pad, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Boca Chica, Texas. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

On April 16, 2021, NASA chose SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company, for its next crewed mission to the Moon. Elon Musk’s company is responsible for developing the US space agency’s moon landing system for an amount of 2.9 billion dollars (2.4 billion euros).

Billionaire Elon Musk’s company has landed a juicy contract for the prototype Starship spacecraft. She beat Dynetics and the company Blue Origin, of Jeff Bezos, and becomes the only supplier of the system, a break compared to the past, because NASA often chose several companies in the event of failure of one of them.

NASA said the lander will bring two American astronauts to the lunar surface and will require a test flight to the Moon before humans make that flight. This decision consolidates the company of Elon Musk, created in 2002 in the goal of conquering Mars, in its place as a privileged partner of NASA in the private sector.

Inspiration 4: let’s go for space tourism!

The crew of the Inspiration 4 mission, in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule
The crew of the Inspiration 4 mission, in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule

In September 2021, Crew Dragon carried four non-professional passengers into space for its fourth manned flight: a first in the history of space travel. The Dragon capsule remained in space for three days. It is even further than the ISS, which rotates at an altitude of 400 km, aiming for an orbit of 575 km.

If the passengers have nevertheless been trained by SpaceX to be able to take control of their ship in the event of an emergency, this mission is a real novelty: “There have been orbital tourists before, but this is the first time that non-professional passengers have not been accompanied by astronauts,” explains Christophe Bonnal, researcher at the National Center for Space Studies (Cnes).

Moreover, unlike astronauts who train for years before going into space, the passengers underwent training for less than six months. They experienced weightlessness aboard parabolic flights, or the g-force in a centrifuge. They also had to trek in the snow at high altitude on Mount Rainier in the northwestern United States.

The flight having taken place without incident, it opens a new era for space travel and we hope to see missions of this type flourish…

Starship’s first orbital flight: coming soon?

Artist's impression of the Starship and its launch vehicle, in orbit around the Earth.
Artist’s impression of the Starship (source: numerama)

SpaceX is progressing towards a first orbital Starship flight… But we will have to wait. In effect, last month there was still no flight test scheduled for the giant Starship/SuperHeavy launcher. On the other hand, more and more work on the ground infrastructures will take place.

In addition to the umbilicals installed a few weeks ago, the rail system installed along the tower, the eight huge tanks of propellant and pressurized gas within the launch area, there’s plenty to keep hundreds of workers, technicians and engineers busy, day and night on the site.

Progress is daily: the tank systems are active (several are already full), the piping to the firing table is being checked, the various mobile systems are being tested.

This bodes well for new trials. shortly “.

The SN20 prototype should therefore soon test its engines, while public hearings have begun for the FAA, whose decision will be crucial for the future of launches on the site. The latter must return its long-awaited report on the environmental impact of the SpaceX site in Boca Chica.

In the event of a positive opinion, SpaceX will have the green light for ambitious tests (up to 20 suborbital launches and 5 orbital launches per year). But, in the event of refusal, the work on site could delay the project for several years, or even require a transfer of activities to the Space Coast.

The concern is that the administrative battle may take longer than the test campaign… In any case, the next test should always aim for orbit (or at least, a near-orbit), with the Super Heavy BN4 prototype and the Starship SN20. The latter, covered with its thermal tiles which will allow it (perhaps) to resist an atmospheric re-entry, has not yet finished with the ground tests.

Source : Wikipedia

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