Competition is almost always good. When a company has a strong and worthy competitor, this encourages it to place more emphasis on development and innovation. If we talk about private companies that are engaged in space exploration, then 2 of the largest players immediately come to mind - Blue Origin and SpaceX, each of which has its own unique experience. But it seems that in the near future, these companies may well cooperate in the framework of NASA's lunar program.
Who will explore the moon?
Not so long ago american aerospaceNASA has identified a number of companies that will share the grant of 43.2 million US dollars. Moreover, this money should not go to the development of the companies themselves, but specifically to developments in the field of exploration and use of the moon. Winning companies will also contribute their own funds to projects, if required.
Now many promising technologies arein the so-called “turning point” of its development. - says one of the NASA deputy directors Jim Reuters (editorial note: the financing project itself is called “Tipping Point”, which translates as a “tipping point”, so Mr. Reuters statement looks even a little funny). This means that without investment, projects can simply "die." NASA is an additional impetus necessary for companies and their projects for the additional development of their potential. These are important technologies necessary for the exploration of the moon and in the future of Mars.
The largest award went to Blue Origin,which received $ 10 million for demonstrating technology for liquefying and storing hydrogen and oxygen. Such technology, according to NASA, can ultimately be used to produce fuel on the moon. At the same time, hydrogen and oxygen do not need to be “brought from the Earth” at all. You can use the ice that is already on the moon. The plus is that hydrogen can be used as fuel for jet engines, for electric motors or for generators based on fuel cells. They just want to use hydrogen fuel in Blue Origin. In particular, there is evidence that the lunar landing module Blue Moon lander will run on hydrogen fuel.
See also: The moon can help in the search for aliens
Apparently, NASA wants to make a hugefocus on hydrogen fuel in its future space research, because another company Infinity Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Inc. received $ 4 million to develop a scalable, cheap and reliable fuel cell system. Do you believe in the prospect of hydrogen fuel? Write about it in our chat in Telegram.
As for SpaceX, the company Ilona Maskreceived $ 3 million from NASA to work with the George Marshall Space Flight Center. It is a government-owned space research center owned by NASA and is developing and testing spacecraft engines. They will work on prototypes of towing devices for refueling spacecraft. And, interestingly, most likely, we can also talk about hydrogen fuel, since the George Marshall Space Flight Center has recently conducted quite a few developments in this area. SpaceX previously proposed a way to use rocket refueling in space using tankers launched from Earth in advance. This would provide the necessary amount of fuel starships for missions to the moon and Mars.