General, Research, Technology

SpaceX will officially send NASA astronauts to the moon

In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and BuzzAldrin were the first to step onto the lunar surface. After them, several more people visited the satellite of our planet, but then such missions were no longer carried out. The NASA aerospace agency intends to return people to the moon in 2024 - this event will be timed to coincide with the 55th anniversary of the completion of the Apollo 11 mission. The new mission was named "Artemis" and within its framework a man and a woman will be sent to the moon. Recently it became known that SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, will play a big role in this historic event. Within the framework of this article, I propose to find out what role the discussed company will play and how the mission will be conducted in general. It will be divided into three stages, so we have a lot to see. It is expected that the first stage will be carried out as early as 2021.

Most likely, the SpaceX lander will look something like this

Return of people to the moon

That SpaceX will play a big role inthe return of people to the moon, was reported on the official NASA website. In 2019, we already wrote that NASA is looking for a company that can create a lander to deliver people to the surface of the earth's satellite. Several organizations competed for this opportunity at once, but the leading positions were occupied by Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin (head of Amazon). The victory was won by SpaceX, after which it received $ 2.89 billion to develop a lander, which is extremely important for the Artemis mission.

Landing modules from different companies. The best option turned out to be from SpaceX

The mission will include three flights.Most likely, the first will be completed already in 2021 - a passenger capsule without a crew will be sent to space. Around 2022, a capsule will be launched with astronauts, but without landing on the moon. But in 2024, astronauts will nevertheless land on a satellite of our planet and will conduct research work for a week. After collecting all the necessary data, they will return to Earth.

Already in 2024 we will be able to see new photographs of people on the moon

For launching astronauts into orbit, there will bethe Space Launch System super-heavy launch vehicle was used. The Orion spacecraft will carry 4 astronauts, but only two of them will be transferred to the SpaceX lander. NASA wants one of the astronauts to be a woman, and the other - a person of African American, Asian or other origins. The lander will deliver them to the lunar surface, and then back to the Orion spacecraft, after which space travelers can return to Earth.

Rocket Space Launch System as seen by the artist

See also: How did scientists take a high-quality photograph of the moon without flying into space?

A new era of lunar exploration

According to the head of the mannedspaceflight by Kathy Lueders, the mission will put humanity on the path to sustainable lunar exploration. After studying the earth's satellite, we can seriously think about flights to other objects in the solar system like Mars. It is expected that someday a station will be built on the Moon, which will become an intermediate point between the Earth and other planets. But before the construction of the station, one should learn how to extract minerals on the moon. After all, sending building materials from Earth will cost many millions of dollars, so it is better to produce them directly on the surface of the Moon.

When the station will be built on the moon is still unknown

It is important to note that SpaceX will also help NASA withconstruction of the lunar station Gateway. She, too, is part of the mission "Artemis" and will also become a kind of intermediate point, but only between the Earth and the Moon. We have already found out that two parts of the station are already ready: this is the HALO module for the astronauts' accommodation and the PPE system, which is necessary for powering and moving the station. These two modules will be sent into circumlunar orbit inside SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. You can find out more about how the huge objects inside the aircraft will be located at this link.

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In general, in the near future we will have something to doobserve. In September 2021, SpaceX will send the first tourists into space. They will be four people, two of whom received tickets for the Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of the competition. If you are wondering what kind of people they are and what benefits the competition has brought to humanity, I recommend reading this article.

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