On Monday, the founder of the private aerospace company SpaceX Elon Musk announced plans for the first ever commercial space mission, sending two civilians to the moon on Board of the spacecraft "Dragon 2". Apparently, suggesting that by itself, the news about sending untrained civilians into space can arouse deserved interest, Musk, among others, also identified the time frame for this mission, stating that the event should be held in the fourth quarter of 2018. You read that correctly – in the next year. And this despite the complete lack of an earlier and safer manned spaceflight.
Despite the fact that news about developing space tourism can not but rejoice, in this particular case, there remains some questions that require answers. First, who are these two not yet named civilians who are likely to have to pay for a week long space flight to the moon a few hundred million dollars? All that is known on this subject at the moment is the fact that, in the words of the Mask, these people have already made a "significant advance". But the more important question is how the hell these people will be able to prepare for a space mission, when even professional astronauts take years for such training? The answers to these questions are: \_(ツ)_/ and \_(ツ)_/, respectively.
There are many reasons to stop and think before you send unprepared for this people into space. From the point of view of the same space Agency NASA, the candidates for the title of astronauts are required to have a number of requirements, both physical and mental. According to NASA, if the person does not possess a bachelor's degree in "engineering, biological Sciences, physics, computer science or mathematics", the application filed by such people will not even consider. However, simply possessing knowledge — not enough. , Astronaut candidates must "have at least 3-year experience in the relevant education sector with a constant increase in the post or at least a minimum of 1000 flying hours on jet aircraft as the pilot."
Those demands, despite its apparent aim, is fully justified, because in space, the Goonies useless. If something goes wrong (and such things occur very often), the astronauts must have endurance and composure in order to make difficult decisions, often requiring scientific and technical knowledge.
In Addition to the mental faculties, all candidates in the same American space program must go through a series of physical tests, and if you're lucky and someone eventually taken away, after that usually follows a two-year training at the space flight Center Johnson. According to the official website of NASA's program of selection and training of astronauts, the fun begins here:
"In the framework of the training program training astronaut candidates before you go to flight training must have successfully completed a military program of survival training on the water, which will help them in the framework of the training of EVAs. Upon completion of the program, each candidate must obtain a certificate attesting their skills to use scuba gear. All, astronaut candidates must pass aquatic tests within the first month of your training. Each candidate shall have no time limit to be able to swim three lengths of a 25 meter pool without stopping, and then three more lengths of the pool, while wearing a flight suit and tennis shoes. After that, each while in the flight suit, you must stay afloat for 10 minutes."
After a candidate completes their basic training, it can take (and can and not to select) to carry out specific mission training, which will require much more time. In addition to training in microgravity, the study of robotics and more, candidates in the pilots of space vehicles mandatory monthly will need to make a 15-hour RAID on one of the two training supersonic aircraft, "Northrop T-38 Talon". Even for candidates not in the pilots of the spacecraft is a requirement in the minimum 4-hour monthly RAID.
the Artistic representation of the spacecraft "SpaceX ITS" ("Interplanetary Transport System"/"Interplanetary Transportation System")
It is Very unlikely that the rich enthusiasts and customers of the company SpaceX will be able to fit most of the requirements, is installed the same in front of their NASA astronauts. All the same requirements of speech does not go. There marriage even the best of the best. So people like, for example, mark Shelhamer who is the former chief scientific Advisor, NASA Human Research Program, I doubt that SpaceX will manage everything and all to prepare for the next year.
"I support attempts to Mask his enthusiasm, and applaud what he has achieved," — commented Shelhamer.
"However, the desire to send two lay people to the moon in a new spacecraft with new rocket and all this in the next two years? I doubt very much. Will not work".
Despite the hypothetical possibility that the rocket SpaceX "Falcon Heavy" and the spacecraft "Dragon 2" will be able to carry out several other space flight before the actual flight to the moon, to predict with confidence that this flight will indeed take place in the next two years, no one in the state.
"manned space flights at this point with absolute certainty we only know one thing: under each of the flight something might happen," — continues Shelhamer.
"that's why we send into space only professional astronauts, highly trained and have passed many extensive training. Especially when we are talking about new hardware that needs to be checked in a given time. Here you need people who are able to deal with possible anomalies and emergency situations. This is what characterizes a true professional. That's what they are doing and that is what they valued. For this reason, the first American astronauts become highly skilled test pilots".
For example of how years of training can become a life saver in case of emergencies, you need not go far – "Apollo 13". Damaged oxygen tank put the crew "Apollo-13" in a situation between life and death. The astronauts even had to move into the lunar landing module and on the basis of a variety of parts on Board the ship to build a portable system for air purification from carbon dioxide. Of course, since the mission "Apollo" in the environment of space technologies has reached unprecedented heights, but this does not mean that the flight to the moon will be completely safe and completely devoid of any risks. Although SpaceX has already made several successful (unmanned) to the ISS, flying to the moon – whether it is manned or unmanned is a different level.
"Flight to the moon is much more difficult flight to the ISS. There is even to argue about," — comments Shelhamer.
And yet, despite all that said, Elon Musk doesn't seem at all concerned about the safety and the training of its future lunar tourists.
"of Course, it will be a risky flight," — said Musk in a conversation with Gizmodo, when he was asked a question about the preparation of space tourists, as well as about the safety of their health.
"although before that we'll definitely spend a lot of launches "Falcon Heavy" and "Dragon 2" for us, this will be the first manned space flight in deep space".
If all goes according to the established plan, SpaceX will send an unmanned mission "Dragon 2" to the ISS by the end of this year. In 2018, the company plans to carry out the first manned flight of the spacecraft "Dragon 2" to the ISS, and already after that to start the lunar excursion.
However, the question about the details of the physical and psychological preparation for the first space tourists SpaceX and about how this training looks in comparison with the training of NASA astronauts, Musk refused to answer, however, adding that may "a few months" this will be new information.
"If you will not experience any health problems (in particular with the cardiovascular system) and if they have good bone density, so in a microgravity environment will experience some loss of bone density, which is then restored in the earth's gravity, then, perhaps, the main risk will be associated with the return (reverse-entry), as well as possible system failures in deep space when the device will be in the shaded area of the moon where there is the potential to lose contact with him", — said Musk.
And still can not please the fact that SpaceX at least does not ignore the issues related to health risks. In the end, the change in bone density can indeed carry potential complications. Preliminary results of studies of health NASA twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly showed that space flight had on the body of Scott's more serious influence, down to the chromosomal level. Despite the fact that Scott Kelly has been in space for a year, and the planned lunar expedition SpaceX will amount to something around one week (or slightly more), not fully resolved the question of a possible more rapid manifestation of the effects of space flight.
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