Time (USA): the struggle of superpowers rivalry billionaires — new moon race

Time (США): борьба сверхдержав, соперничество миллиардеров — новая лунная гонка

In 1960-e years it was a competition between the two countries — the USA and the USSR, each of which sought first to set foot on the moon, recalls a Time (USA) . But this time the United States was in a more serious competition on many fronts with private companies such as “space x” and “blue origin” and the world powers, among which the most important competitor is China.

Easier to love “Apollo 11” if you lived at the time and saw it happening. For those who have not camped at Cape Kennedy (formerly Cape Canaveral — approx. ed.) to look at the start of “Saturn-5” on July 16, 1969, or crowding around the TV with an indoor antenna to see how four days later, Neil Armstrong descends the stairs and goes on the surface of the moon, this will always be a sort of documentary on the cable channel. But not for Elon musk.

Musk was born in 1971 in the South African city of Pretoria, two years after the landing of “Apollo 11” and at the other end of the world, away from a country that made an outstanding achievement, having landed on the moon. But somehow he captured the essence, the main idea is that because of the age couldn’t see. “”Apollo 11” was one of the most inspiring moments in the history of mankind, he said in an interview on July 12 in Hawthorne (CA), in the headquarters of the company “space x” (SpaceX), which produces space technology, which he founded in 2002, and which became his own legend and a symbol of space research. — I’m not sure that “space x” would exist, if not for the “Apollo 11″”.

Today, the company “space x” is one of the few influential players (billionaires and dreamers of the two richest countries in the world) competing in a race to settle the moon. In 1960-e years it was a competition between the two countries — the USA and the USSR, each of which sought first to set foot on the moon. But this time the United States was in a more serious competition on many fronts with private companies such as “space x” and “blue origin” by Jeff Bezos (Jeff Bezos), and the world powers, among which the most important competitor is China.

Like the Soviet Union and the United States during the cold war, China is using its space ambitions as a powerful ideological and even expansionist tool of public administration. In January, China successfully launched the automatic lunar station “Chanje-4” (Chang’e-4), consisting of a stationary module and a lunar Rover, which landed on the side of the moon. China was the first country that landed on the visible hemisphere. “We are building China, turning it into a cosmic giant”, — said the chief designer “Kanye-4” From Waigani (Wu Weiren).

Last year the head of the lunar program of China E Pazzani (Ye Peijian) described the work of the Agency, citing the growing dominance of Beijing in the Islands of the South China sea: “the universe is an ocean, the Moon the Diaoyu Islands, Mars — the island of Hainan. If we don’t fly there now, although we are able to do this, then we will be blamed by our descendants”. It’s probably just empty statements inciting “space hysteria,” but it attracted the attention of Western observers. “I have no doubt that over the next five years, they will finalize work [on his own space station] and announce manned lunar program,” says Joan Johnson-Freese (Joan Johnson-Freese), Professor at the naval war College in Newport, state of Rhode island, head of the Department of the study of national security issues, with experience in the field of space, science and technology.

The driving force behind a new space race is a powerful combination of the most important economic, technological, and geopolitical problems. On projects of lunar exploration can earn a lot of money. The contribution of the companies involved in the development and creation of space technology in the world’s GDP today stands at $ 350 billion, and, according to the “Morgan Stanley” (Morgan Stanley), by 2040 it will increase to $ 1.4 trillion. The moon could become the first Outpost in the activities of the colonization and exploration of outer space. Just one example: now there is an active debate about the huge amounts that you can earn by mining the moon for rare earth metals used in electronics manufacturing. With today’s space technology, these amounts are quickly being eroded, given the billions of dollars that would be spent on transporting goods between the earth and the Moon, but technology is changing, and nobody wants to stay away from potential lunar gold rush.

In addition, for flights to the moon are the Foundation of scientific and technological nature. The Observatory, built on the side of the moon, protected from sunlight reflected from the Earth, and the earth’s radio emission was more powerful and would allow to observe farther than telescopes mounted on the surface of the planet or in its orbit. Although NASA is known to overestimate commercial additional benefits of the space program (one of the slogans of the Agency, to date, worn and lost its originality — “Removal from the Earth, for Earth”), it is undeniable piling up for decades is evidence that the technique, originally developed for space missions often have applications on Earth. Scratch-resistant glass, lightweight batteries of high capacity that allows you to create wireless tools, foam memory foam and fire retardant fabric, and, most importantly, satellite navigation system — all appeared thanks to technology, designed to explore outer space.

Among the future the advantages include the application of artificial intelligence, biometric sensors and air traffic control as well as fertilizer for crops and a greenhouse of LEDs adapted on the basis of the system, which is currently being developed to generate agriculture beyond Earth.

The thing is that any path to Mars, probably, right through the moon. The establishment of colonies in the world, which is only three days flight from Earth is the best way to check the vital infrastructure that would be necessary at a much more distant (and less sterile) Mars.

All competitors participating in the moon race, look at the same place on the surface of the South pole, which is located close to the “fertile Crescent” that exists on the moon. In the craters near the South pole, located in the area of eternal shadows, has accumulated large reserves of frozen water that can be used as a source of water for people and irrigation for crops. Water can be split into oxygen, which could then be used as air crews, and hydrogen, from which by re-linking with oxygen can get simple, highly efficient and clean rocket fuel. Getting water and rocket fuel outside the Earth to fly into deep space — a process much more complicated and more time consuming than lifting them from the moon, where gravity is six times less than on Earth, and then placing them in lunar orbit. Spaceships on the way to Mars could theoretically do a stop “near” the moon for refueling before heading into deeper space.

All of this is within the capabilities of modern technology, but since then, in 1972, the last mission to the moon within the Apollo returned to Earth, the goal of the NASA space program are much more limited and boil down to flights to low-earth orbit. And since then, in 2011, was charged last space Shuttle NASA space Shuttle, the US has no means of delivering astronauts into space. Instead, they buy space on Board the Russian ship “Union” for the fabulous sum of $ 80 million per flight to the ISS and return to Earth.

Now, however, attention again focused on the dominance in the development of the moon. In March, Vice-President Mike Pence (Mike Pence), head of the newly reconstituted National space Council (he was disbanded from 1993), has announced that by 2024, the administration, trump will send the Americans to the moon. “It is the policy of this administration and the United States of America for the resumption of flights of American astronauts on the moon within the next five years, he said at the Council meeting in Huntsville, Alabama. —”Urgency” must be our motto.”

The time for such a challenge was successful because on the space coast of Florida once again hard at work. NASA has leased launch pad 39A at Cape Canaveral, which started almost all of the lunar mission “Apollo”, the company “space x”, which plans to send a ship with a crew around the moon as early as 2023. “I can’t believe that we will be able to use this platform, says Musk. — We’re not worthy! This site is too good.”

The company also leases the neighboring area 40 built in the Cape Canaveral hangar area of five thousand square meters to prepare the rockets for flight. The company’s plant in Hawthorne, California, completed work, and there is in full swing work on the creation of technology — including two spacecraft Dragon, which lead to a state of readiness in the clean room. One of them is designed to test the emergency rescue system of the ship, and another for auto flight to the International space station. But the company “space X” expects to do much more. “We actually have to have been a ship capable of delivering to the moon enough payload to create a permanent base on the moon like the permanent manned base, which we have in Antarctica, says Musk. — [But] to have a scientific base on the moon would be totally cool.”

Similarly, NASA leased pad 36, and 11 at Cape Canaveral for producing missile equipment of the company “blue origin”, owned by the head and founder of the Internet company Amazon, Jeff Bezos. “Blue origin” built on the territory Canaveral sparkling plant worth $ 200 million and plans to expand the area to more than 360 thousand square meters. In may, Bezos demonstrated the company the layout of the lunar lander “blue moon”, and reiterated the intended administration trump the date to 2024. “It’s time to return to the moon, he said in Washington, speaking to a large group of people gathered together, and this time stay there.”

And the very space Agency aktiviziruyutsya again, and partnerships with private companies, begun under Obama, now bring all the fruits. The company “space x” and “Orbital Sciences” (Orbital Sciences) are often unmanned launch vehicles, making cargo flights to the ISS, and the company “Boeing” and “space x” we hope next year to send ships with crew on Board. Joint venture “United launch Alliance” (United Launch Alliance), belonging to the companies “Boeing” and “Lockheed Martin” (Lockheed Martin), can put the upper stage of the new rocket that NASA expects to use to send astronauts to the moon in 2024.

Meanwhile, at launch pad 39B at Cape Canaveral, NASA established the mobile launch tower with a height of 38 floors, weighing about 4800 tons and worth $ 500 million, which will launch this new missile. It is a complex of super-heavy launch vehicle (SLS), which is created by the NASA modern equivalent of a rocket “Saturn-5”, which was used for the preparation and implementation of a manned landing on the moon in the framework of the program “Apollo”. After the statement was made Pence, NASA has accelerated the launch date of the SLS and the completion of the ship “Orion crew” (Orion Crew) — a modern analogue of the spacecraft “Apollo”, and also collects applications for participation in competition on creation of a new module for landing on the moon.

NASA names new lunar program “Artemis” after the Greek goddess, sister of Apollo. Intentionally or not, all of this is an echo of this in 1962, President Kennedy promises to send by the end of 1960-ies the American astronauts on the moon. It was a hard task and timelines that he has identified for the country. If the program “Artemis” will be successfully implemented, it will restore American superiority in space and to prove that the divided country could again do great things. If the program fails, the US will hand over their position, yielding the moon and its potential, perhaps for several decades.

China national space administration (CNSA) caught the world by surprise. China did not launch its first satellite until 1970, and for several decades in matters of space exploration was on the periphery. But in 2003 the situation began to change when China launched its first taikonaut — the Chinese equivalent of the American astronaut and Russian cosmonaut. Currently China several times sent into space manned spacecraft, conducted spacewalks, built and launched a space mini-station. The country has also carried out four flights to the moon robotic spacecraft, the most impressive of which was made at the beginning of this year, when on the reverse side of the moon landed base station “Chanje-4” and the Rover.

Beijing clearly stated the country’s plans for a South pole lunar base, “Chang’e-4”, landing within the territory, which would be the Arctic circle on Earth. CNSA has not been formally reported whether the next database to be the crew or will it be automatic machine, but recently, in 2017, the official state news Agency Xinhua (Xinhua), citing the words of the first taikonaut country Livea Yang (Yang Liwei), said that China is indeed “making plans for the implementation of a manned flight with landing on the moon.” For China, Yang is the same as Neil Armstrong for the United States, and Yuri Gagarin for Russia, and if he spoke thoughtlessly, Beijing, of course, would not allow such a powerful man to say, not denying his words.

But some observers in the West are skeptical. “When it comes to the Chinese space program, the only thing we can trust is periodically facing the official information documents and reports at party congresses, says Dean Cheng (Dean Cheng), an expert on Chinese politics and security, senior fellow at Washington’s strategic research center “Heritage Foundation” (the Heritage Foundation). In their latest white paper, released in 2016, the program of manned flights to the moon didn’t say anything”.

China says nothing about their space spending — or anything that you can believe at least in part. The amount of the annual budget of CNSA, which is often called in the press, is eight billion dollars or about 40% of the $ 20 billion planned for NASA. But most experts don’t take this number seriously, considering it to be almost laughable. “The space program [of China] is incorporated in its defense budget, says Cheng. Is usually referred to the amount of the defense budget, representing approximately $ 250 billion. It’s a convenient lie that suits all”. In truth, he says, China probably spends more both on defense and space, and evidence of this is the infrastructure: “If they are able to have four different launch pads and two of the state Corporation [space-related], employing 90 thousand people and if they spend eight billion dollars, we should just calm down and shut up.”

NASA, for comparison, costs relative modest amounts. Funding Agency reached a peak in 1966 to just over 5.9 billion dollars, equivalent to 47 billion for the course of 2019, which is two times more than NASA receives today. After Pence announced the goal of returning to the moon by 2024, the administration of the trump sought additional costs of $ 1.6 billion, but Congress this amount is not yet approved. But even if approved, it would still be much less than the five billion dollars of annual subsidies which, in the opinion of many insiders that are required in order to land on the moon in 2024. But there is simply no public support for such a commitment of funding. “With increased funding we could fly more often if the country wanted to fly more often”, — said the head of the program “Orion” mark Kirasich (Mark Kirasich).

But if China is leading in the financing and government obligations, in the field of rocketry, he, apparently, far behind the United States. Flight to the moon begins to find a way to make a very difficult technique to move at very high speed. Orbiter the era of “Apollo” and lunar lander together weighed about 44 tons. This required to build a huge rocket “Saturn-5” — machine length 110,6 meters, the engine which produces thrust 34343 kN. For the more ambitious missions of the XXI century, NASA is developing a super-heavy launch vehicles, developing cravings 38720 kN. The extra power is key to creation of permanent infrastructure in the framework of the “Artemis” beyond Earth. The plan is to first start on a circumlunar orbit a small space station “gateway” (Gateway). Then crews of four astronauts will have to fly to the station aboard the “Orion”, to dock to it and drop a lander to the surface.

“This time we’re going to the moon… it will be a long mission, says NASA’s administrator Jim Breidenstein (Jim Bridenstine). — We will learn to live and work in the other world, to eventually go to Mars”. Initially, flights on the lunar Gateway station in the framework of the “Artemis” will be more difficult and expensive than in the framework of the program “Apollo”, but in the long run they can become available and cheaper. The reason is that the ship “Orion” is reusable. For a similar module for landing on the moon — at least partially. Like the original lunar module, which was used in the framework of the program “Apollo”, a new version will be a device consisting of two parts — flushing and lifting of detachable steps located one above another. They fall to the surface of the moon together, and before the release of rising discharge stage takes off with the crew, and the landing stage remained in the back. This rising discharge stage can be re-used.

As the international space station, a circumlunar space station Gateway will be expandable and have several nodes for interfacing with the modules of the international or private partners, designed to carry out experiments and landing on the moon. The station will move along the so-called halo orbit, which is almost straightforward — a number of elliptical contours, which can be adjusted through the relative adjustment of thrust fuel supply. At the same time for landing and research will be available to all parts of the moon. Want to land at the South pole? Push its orbit in the same direction. Want to land in the North? Move it to the other side. The spacecraft “Apollo” was restricted in maneuvering the narrow Equatorial orbits, limiting potential landing zone.

First, the space Agency needs to have its own rocket, and with the 2005 launch vehicles are in development in “torn” mode, and due to the fixed funding deadlines has been repeatedly violated. Earlier this year, the chamber has published a report which says that the cost of development and production of super-heavy launch vehicle (SLS), of the ship “Orion” and related systems amounts to approximately $ 16 billion, which is 1.8 billion more than planned — mainly due to delays. Now, however, NASA claims that rocket is almost ready, and the timing of its commissioning are very impressive, because its first manned flight around the moon planned for 2023.

Musk is moving even faster. According to him, the Dragon developed by the company “space x” may be ready to take on Board a crew of astronauts and deliver them to the ISS in the next six months. Although the largest missile company, the Falcon Heavy, does not have the pulling power of as a super-heavy rocket carriers of the SLS, with engines capable of developing a thrust 22240 kN, it is the most powerful rocket of the ones that are flying now. At the end of June the company “space x” announced that in 2021 she will launch the Falcon heavy rocket, capable to provide traction in 48038,4 kN, with a space apparatus “Starship” (Starship) long, 55 meters of stainless steel and a compartment accommodating 100 passengers. It will be 17 times more Orion”, which can fit four to six astronauts. According to the Mask, it is such a super-heavy rocket, the Falcon Super Heavy, and not already existing Falcon rocket will help people to move past the model of “flags and footprints” era “Apollo” and closer to to provide a more permanent presence on the moon and then on Mars.

“We could repeat the mission “Apollo-11″, having made several short flights the [Falcon Heavy], but the repetition made always worse than the original,” he says. Musk has already sold some tickets for a flight to the moon and back aboard a future ship of a Japanese billionaire and fashion designer Maezawa Yusaku (Yusaku Maezawa).

And if Musk makes no secret of all his plans, Bezos and company “blue origin” at the moment are more mysterious. Head office and plant in Kent, Washington, could be one of the centers of registration and order fulfillment company Bezos Amazon — although they are not designed without humor. In the lobby stands a pot, which on closer examination turns out to be a rocket nozzle used on a real rocket. The plant hung a huge model of the starship enterprise (U. S. S. Enterprise), and like a huge sculpture on display the door of a space ship from the movie Battlestar Galactica.

Given the “kinship” with the company “Amazon”, “blue origin” in the near future will not lack for funding. But space programs are extremely expensive, and capital “burned” before there is an opportunity to recover some of that money by paying customers, and the number of prestigious transportation does not exceed the number of those who can pay the freight. Therefore, says CEO Bob Smith (Bob Smith) at the moment “there is no doubt that our work in the company at this stage of its existence must be a self-sustaining business.” The main goal is to become a service provider for launching rockets, as the company “space X”, and then start to carry out flights into space with paying customers-the passengers.

Created by the company “blue origin’s” New Shepard rocket that, like most space ships of the company, named in honor of one of American space heroes (in this case — in honor of Alan Shepard, first American astronaut), is completely reusable. It is designed to deliver payloads and people into suborbital space for a few minutes in weightlessness. It may seem that it’s not too serious: it almost makes no knowledge, and is a prestigious ostentatious holiday for people with money, who can afford it. But all the equipment developed for the New Shepard vehicle, also designed for use on much larger rockets, New Glenn who will soon have to fly (and which is named in honor of John Glenn, the first American astronaut who made a space flight to orbit the Earth), perhaps rocket New Armstrong (named in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first man landed on the moon) and most importantly developed company the lander Blue Moon for a future flight to the moon.

To implement its program “Artemida” NASA took applications for participation in competition on creation of the lunar landing modules from several companies, but there’s no doubt that the company “blue origin” has a huge advantage. “We do not know what is in other companies before they will present all their achievements, says Smith. But we have been working on it. We have established very good connections with NASA… on the issue of what we think about how we get back to the moon by 2024”.

As for China, no matter what his purpose, in his grandiose plans for the implementation of piloted flights in deep space, the country largely relies on a new version of its series of Long March rockets called the Long March 5. She was ready at the end of this year to send to the moon and return to Earth automatically, the research unit, and fly to Mars in 2020. However, at an early stage of development, things have gone quite smoothly. In 2016 test flight of the rocket was more or less successfully, and there were only a few problems with the trajectory on the way to orbit. But in 2017, the launch failed and the goods were never delivered to the space. And the test, scheduled for July this year was delayed, that failure reported by the European space Agency, published on the Internet satellite images, it was evident that the ships with a missile, long idle at the start, although they have had to fly.

“This was really the first case when the Chinese were a significant miss in their space program, says Cheng. — Sometimes they had to delay technical elaboration or definition of goals, [but] they didn’t have software failures, such as in the case of Long March 5”. But camera Long March 5 is not even a rocket, which will deliver a taikonaut on the moon. This is an intermediate option, which needs to be developed more powerful camera Long March 9. If China will not be able to launch Long March 5, he certainly will not be able to send in flight and his older brother.

There are some questions regarding whether the lunar plans of China is actually a tactical maneuver, deceptive, bluff against the backdrop of efforts by the less bright but more practical research and implementation of security related projects in earth orbit. “China, of course, not trying to overtake the United States in the development of the moon or somewhere in space, — says Gregory Kulak (Gregory Kulacki), head of the Chinese project of the American Union of conscious scientists (Union of Concerned Scientists), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of science. — It is impossible to win the race in which you had defeated 50 years ago.”

Of course, the race must not be allowed, and international cooperation are often much more effective than the rivalry. The US has 15 partner countries working on the International space station. Russia, European space Agency, Japan and Canada provided the modules of the ISS were flown astronauts and cosmonauts from 18 countries. With tensions rising between the U.S. and Russia cooperation on the ISS was an effective way to relieve tension — especially when teams have to work together to face challenges.

In 2015, due to an alleged leak of ammonia in U.S. part of the station astronauts had to take refuge in the Russian part, not yet sounded the alarm “end of alarm”. Former astronaut Terry VIRTs (Terry Virts), who was at that time on the ISS, says that Dmitry Rogozin, the then Vice-Premier in charge of defense and space industry, which was involved in a hot skirmish with Washington over the invasion of Crimea, promptly contacted the ISS. “American colleagues, VIRTs remembers his words, you can stay here for as long as you like. We will work on this together.”

In a world confronted with such borderless threats like climate change and the emergence of new diseases, such cooperation will be increasingly important, and space is a good way to build confidence. However, cooperation within the framework of American and Chinese space programs at the moment is actually banned in accordance with the provisions of the act of 2011 on military expenditures, known as amendment Wolfe (Wolf Amendment) from concerns related to the transfer of technologies that could jeopardize national security. From a legal point of view, NASA can cooperate with China in civilian projects that do not have military applications, but almost any space technology too often involves a dual purpose to ever remove the ban. For the United States political not beneficial partnership with China in space, and the space race, as well as competition with the Soviet Union 50 years ago. “[Former NASA administrator] Mike Griffin (Mike Griffin), Elon Musk and other American officials, working in space, usually play on the anxiety experienced by the United States in connection with China, to force Congress to fork out and spend more money, says Kulak. and Penny seems to be working on the same script”.

Ultimately, scenarios and policies are (or at least should be) secondary to the solution of a much more important task, which is to make people who they have long been a half-century ago: representatives of the two worlds. Michael Collins (Michael Collins), pilot, piloting the command module “Apollo 11”, recalls that he was especially impressed with the remark that he always heard when he and the rest of the crew went after the flight to different countries. “I thought that when you’d arrive, we’d say, “Well, congratulations. You Americans finally did it” — he recalled in a recent interview. But instead, all in one voice said, “We did it. We, the people, finally left this planet””.
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