This Friday At the meeting of the International Congress of Astronautics, meeting which will be held in the Australian city of Adelaide, Executive Director of the company SpaceX Elon Musk is going to make a presentation and submit a big update with regards to his ideas of colonization of Mars. At this meeting, he's going to share new details of the plan, which he said during the conference IAC, held in Mexico last year, where he expressed the desire to send to the Martian surface, several thousand people. At the same time, the conversation is likely to go about how to implement this plan in reality.
At the moment, Musk hinted about some things, about which he will speak at the presentation at the end of this week. And apparently, we can expect the announcement of a new and more compact carrier rocket, as well as details about how he is going to receive funds for its development. In addition, Elon said that we are waiting for a few surprises with regards to how this booster can be used.the
The Central figures in the colonization plan of Mars are a huge rocket and the spacecraft, dubbed "Interplanetary transportation system" (Interplanetary Transport System, ITS), which will be used to deliver people to Mars and to return them back to Earth. However, Musk has repeatedly hinted that he is going to introduce a new and more compact version of the "Interplanetary transportation system", which, in his opinion, would be much more practical to use.
The Current version of the ITS, introduced last year, is a carrier rocket capable of lifting on Board your to 100 colonists. It is expected that the rocket will be reusable and its main part will produce a soft landing as the main stage of the carrier rocket Falcon 9. At the same time, ship (residential) part will remain in orbit and wait for the new launch, in which it will be delivered to the fuel required for the flight to Mars.
Such design implies the creation of really large missiles. The height of the carrier in combination with the spacecraft will be more than 121 meters, which will make it higher rocket "Saturn-5" space Agency NASA, carrying astronauts to the moon. In addition, ITS diameter is equal to almost 12 meters, and the main stage will be used as much as 42 engine. In this case, risks becoming ITS largest ever created by missiles. This size is one of the reasons that Musk once called her BFR (Big Fucking Rocket, "Big fucking rocket"). As for the more compact option, it is likely to be somewhat narrower and lower. And probably with fewer engines than the original design.
This will make the "Interplanetary transportation system" more practical.
"When you save something in the scale, then you have more opportunities to use" — commented Bobby brown, aerospace engineer and Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Colorado, the portal to the Verge.
For Example, the carrier rocket "Saturn-5" was developed for one purpose only – to bring people to the moon. But more compact launch vehicles such as Falcon 9 SpaceX or "Atlas-5" Alliance United Launch Alliance, can be used for a wider range of space missions ranging from satellite launches and ending with the delivery of a payload to the International space station. The more compact version of the missile is ITS more space for the application, in addition to sending people to Mars. On his page in Instagram Musk even said that "certain aspects of the new design and will be very unexpected."
For clarity it should be added that the rocket will still be great.
"It's bigger than anything existing today", — adds brown.
"That is a missile that is supposed to be just a giant, decided to reduce in size and do just great."
A More compact and universal design will allow to solve another problem that gets in the way of an ambitious plan Mask – availability. One of the criticisms sounding in the direction of the idea of the Mask, due to the fact how unrealistic it looks from the point of view of cost of development and ramasutra. SpaceX is known for its cheaper compared to competitors boosters, however, the development and the construction of a gigantic rocket level ITS likely to cost several billion dollars. Despite this, Musk and SpaceX said they would be ready to send the first colonists to Mars in 2024. This is despite the fact that the company is ready to invest only 5 percent of the total cost of the project.
Reducing the size of ITS definitely will reduce the cost of development as the creation of a more compact missiles in dolgorukovoj term can actually be cheaper than creating a large. And the more orders to use, said brown, the better and the cheaper will be its production time. In the end, because ITS will not only to bring people to Mars but can also be used for other projects, including commercial.
"Small rockets fly more often, therefore, customers should be more," — says brown, adding that as a result of this approach can fully recoup the costs of its development.
Musk seems to think in the same direction:
"the Key issue for you is probably – where to find money?" — he said at the annual conference on scientific research and development on Board the International space station, held in Washington in July of this year.
"If we could reduce the size of the rocket which will be used for flights to Mars, make it more suitable for use in near-earth space missions, the money we can get from these space missions."
Another option to solve the money issue for the Mask, of course, is — just ask for support from the government. It is likely that this issue will be another subject of discussion this Friday.
Musk has long dreamed of Mars, believing that humanity must finally gather the strength and go directly to Mars without spending time and money to create the first colony on the moon. However, in recent months, the Executive Director of SpaceX, I think, to some extent, shifted their priorities. In February, SpaceX announced a plan to send two tourists on a trip around the moon somewhere in 2018. Then in July, Musk said during a conference ISS R&D that a permanent human presence on the moon was one of the ultimate goals of the space program "Apollo".
"to really draw people's attention, we need to build a base on the moon" — said Musk at the meeting.
Such changes in thoughts, possibly associated with political changes that are taking place in the country. During the Obama administration, NASA was seriously committed to "journey to Mars" and the landing of man on the Red planet. But after last year's election of a new President there were preconditions, according to which the new administration of the President of trump can change the course of space research and turn it to the side of the moon. The American space Agency already has plans to build a lunar orbiting space station "Deep Space Gateway". And the speech at the Space center Kennedy, Vice-President Mike Pence said that "the nation is ready to return to the moon", though without specifying exactly when this will happen. Here mention should be made of words Scott pace, Executive Director of the newly formed Space management, who said that renunciation of exploration of the moon during the Obama administration was a real mistake for NASA.
While this is all speculation, but perhaps this Friday Musk will talk about how his rocket the ITS can be used for lunar space launches that may attract the attention of NASA and forced the Agency to support it. Last year, Musk has already noted how important it will be financial support from the state for ITS development, but it was at a time when the Agency was entirely focused on Mars. If the administration trump will point out NASA return to moon program, then the Mask will come the most opportune moment in order to try to obtain that support by putting in your speech and the desire to go to the moon.
"He's in the last year hinted that it may need public funding, what we ourselves knew", — commented on the portal The Verge, Brian is Seen, a space expert and program Director of the Secure World Foundation.
"There are prerequisites to ensure that NASA can change course toward the moon, leaving plans for Mars. And the difficulty is that it is not clear whether this plan for Ilona and SpaceX".
It is Important to note that not only NASA wants to go back to the moon. Space agencies of Europe, Russia and China – are all interested in the lunar missions and the construction of permanent bases. And if it does not we talk about private companies like Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance and many others, with the same plans.the
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