SpaceX and its colony on the moon

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SpaceX and its colony on the moon
SpaceX and its colony on the moon

The rain of good news for SpaceX seems to have no end. After the resounding success of the Demo-2 mission in bringing a couple of astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA and its spokespersons are continuing to wink at how good the competition between private companies is, how much money they are saving and how successful the missions are.

The historical fact has made it especially clear within the U.S. Space Agency that they see a positive opportunity to stop depending on themselves for space travel and, in the process, to stop spending a few billion dollars ‘outsourcing’ this service. Because of Elon Musk’s formula, costs per seat have dropped considerably, mainly because his rockets are reusable and made with the latest technology.

With the first test fire passed, Musk is already looking beyond the International Space Station and is accelerating the development of its Starship, with which it intends to reach the moon as part of the Artemis project. An international space program that aims to bring humans back to Earth’s natural satellite and already has the extravagant owner of SpaceX as one of its main characters.

NASA + SpaceX = Moonbase

Over the past week, the magic words Elon Musk wanted to hear appeared on Twitter: “The cost-saving success of @Commercial_Crew is based on @NASA establishing high-level requirements and letting private companies innovate“. From none other than Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator The space agency’s heaviestweight, appointed by Donald Trump in 2017, welcomes the work done by SpaceX and many other companies fighting for multi-million dollar contracts.

To which he continues: “For the Artemis Moon lunar base, NASA will establish a cost per ton delivered and once again let private companies innovate“. And there was Elon Musk, on the prowl to respond by supporting his stand against competition above all else and against the disproportionate spending of the traditional 100% government formula. “Performance contracting must be applied widely within government. The difference in results will be incredible,” Musk said.

These statements come just after the leak of an internal email from Elon Musk on CNBC reporting on the company’s new top priority: Starship. The ship that promises to be SpaceX’s next flagship is already being developed at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Starship is the centerpiece of Elon Musk’s upcoming desire to take humans beyond the Space Station, and it still has a long way to go.

Starship on the launch pad
Starship on the launch pad

Is there enough water on the moon?

One of the first barriers engineers have faced is the ability to find water on the Moon in sufficient quality and quantity to meet the needs of those who live there.

To this end, NASA and the Astrobotic company are developing an unmanned vehicle that will travel around the moon in search of such a precious molecule. The launch is expected to take place throughout 2023 as an advance to the aforementioned Artemis program that plans to send astronauts in 2024, according to the United States Space Agency.

Rover Viper
Rover Viper

The rover – as this type of vehicle is called – Viper has a cost of 199.5 million dollars and will land at the south pole of the moon to undertake a 100-day journey in search of water in the area.

Elon Musk’s journeys

First, and as part of the Artemis program, to the moon and later to Mars. On the latter, he intends to set up a human colony of no less than “one million people by 2050”, he said a few months ago. And to achieve this they are already developing several prototypes of Starship at full speed. So much so that the first tests of a scale ship resulted in an explosion just the day before astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were sent to the ISS aboard the Dragon Crew. The Starship will be a fully reusable ship with space for 100 occupants and 100 tons, in different configurations. And best of all, it has NASA’s blessing to be used for moon landings.

The Artemis program has been the goose that lays the golden eggs for several companies with aerospace ambitions. In addition to Musk, Blue Origin – Amazon’s sister company and directed by Jeff Bezos – has taken a big piece of the pie by winning the competition to make a lunar lander and Dynetics, another aerospace giant, has done the same with the Human Landing System.

Rocket launch with SpaceX satellites
Rocket launch with SpaceX satellites

For its part, the European Space Agency, through Airbus, will be responsible for manufacturing the Orion spacecraft, which will take the astronauts to the Gateway lunar-orbiting space station, where all the American equipment will be located to reach the satellite’s surface.

The base on the moon is expected to begin operations in 2028, nearly four years after man’s return to the moon. Many more details about this base and how it will be built are not known at this time, but what we are sure of is that Elon Musk will fight to bring some of its engineering works to the surface.

Delage D12, new hybrid supercar
Delage D12, new hybrid supercar

As for Mars, this is a more long-term project but it will still use the Starship ships. If Elon Musk’s plans are fulfilled, the first one to arrive will be a cargo ship in 2022. And by 2024 the first man is planned to set foot on the ‘red planet’. At about the same time as another human will set foot on the moon again.

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