After defeating Boeing and becoming the first private company to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, SpaceX is also racing against Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic to capture the future of space travel. On February 14, 2020, NASA said SpaceX would be the first private company to carry astronauts to the International Space Station. The only vehicle on this voyage is the Crew Dragon, which has already carried out several missions for NASA.
On February 18, SpaceX announced plans to send up to four individual-paid visitors into space between the end of 2021 and early 2022. SpaceX will partner with Space Adventures, a space exploration company that has already carried seven “space passengers” to and from Earth and the International Space Station.
The link between the two stories is: Crew Dragon. The spacecraft, which nasa has asked for, is an sincedeveloped spaceship by SpaceX. Not only will it be a “designated seat ride” for NASA astronauts, but it will also be a “travel tool” for ordinary space travelers.
Space race between Boeing and SpaceX
The U.S. government suspended the space shuttle program in 2011, and the U.S. has relied on buying Russian Soyuz “tickets” to transport people and cargo on the International Space Station. In recent years, the price of Russian “boat tickets” has skyrocketed, and NASA has purchased a Soyuz “boat ticket” for $85 million ($596 million). In order to change this “human-controlled” situation, NASA has been actively working with private companies in the space industry.
In 2014, Boeing and SpaceX were tasked with a mission from NASA to develop a rocket that could transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA gave $5.1 billion to Boeing and SpaceX $3.1 billion. Boeing launched Starliner, and SpaceX produced crew.
NASA is like a tough but well-paid “party”, which provides marketing and competitive space, and also gives high demands on products.
At the time, most analysts believed Boeing would be the winner of the showdown. Fifty-one years ago, Saturn V landed on the moon for the first time, and its first-class contractor was Boeing. Boeing has a deeper build-up in aerospace, with more resources from NASA and even more say at the government level.
From left, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, right, for Boeing’s Starliner, Business Insider
On April 20, 2019, a beta version of the Dragon spacecraft exploded during a routine test. In July, Sapce X published an incident analysis, saying it would ensure that similar explosive leaks did not occur in the future. The weight is tilting toward the Boeing side. But it was not thought that Boeing’s performance was even more worrying.
One word to sum up Boeing’s 2019: vulnerability. The March 2019 Boeing 737 crash has closed the design loophole on the 737MAX. Boeing’s highly anticipated new 777X failed in Test ingres son in September. Only 345 aircraft were delivered between January and November 2019, less than half of the same period in 2018. For the first time in eight years, Boeing’s aircraft deliveries were overtaken by its biggest rival, Airbus.
Five months after the dragon ship accident report was published, Boeing’s manned spacecraft, Starliner, experienced several major software failures during its Orbital Flight Test in December 2019, and the problem has not yet been formally resolved.
Hardware design loopholes, software operation failure, Boeing is in the dual crisis of quality and trust. Manned spaceflight, a national program that costs a lot of money, manpower, astronauts’ lives and government credibility, will never want to repeat the mistakes of Challenger more than three decades ago.
Space X, in contrast, has completed and accepted all the hardware required for the Dragon’s Demo-2 after a failed test last April. During a security test on January 19, the Falcon 9 exploded in the air, and the Dragon Ship Escape System successfully landed the fake astronauts safely. This is The last major test before SpaceX officially launches manned spaceflight, and it passed.
“This critical test puts us at the point where we’ve been using U.S.-made rockets to send U.S. astronauts into space for years. NASA Director Jim Bridenine tweeted after the successful SpaceX test.
Space Travel Market
Space Adventures, as its name suggests, the company that is committed to sending ordinary people with a space dream to space, is already on the same path as NASA used to: buy seats on Russian Soyuz rockets and send seven people into space. In the future, Space Adventures will be like NASA, except that the vehicle will be replaced by SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Each journey can carry four passengers, each of whom will travel to the United States for several weeks of training and board the flight for five days.
“This historic mission will provide all dreamers with the path to space flight, and we are excited to work with space Adventures’ team. “SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said.
Although there is no specific date, it is not known how much the Dragon ship’s “boat ticket” is priced. SpaceX only revealed that two customers had secretly booked their cabins in 2017 in advance. At the time, SpaceX said it would complete its space travel by the end of 2018. Apparently, the plan has been put off until now. SpaceX’s first priority is to send American astronauts into space.
While SpaceX will be the first private company to send American astronauts into space, it may not be the first private company to send ordinary people into space.
Virgin Galactic, founded by Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson in 2004, and Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos in 2000, are the two most popular space travel companies in addition to SpaceX. They are all backed by a vast accumulation of capital and technology, and have focused on commercial space travel for many years.
Virgin Galactic wants to use reusable technology to provide customers with space travel experiences such as zero-gravity floating and viewing the Earth from space. Virgin’s pricing is not out of reach, at about $250,000 a cabin. Earlier, Virgin Galactic said it would send its first passengers into space by the end of the year, with 270 commercial space flights a year by 2023.
Blue Originise is both for the government and for the market. It is one of eleven private companies in NASA’s Program for The Revenator, and the spacecraft and space equipment it has developed are more specialized, such as blue Moon, a lunar lander developed in collaboration with NASA. On February 18, Blue Origin announced that the new rocket engine plant was open and that the New Glenn rocket, which could land independently, was scheduled to make its maiden flight next year. Earlier, Bezos had said Blue Origin planned to commercially carry passengers by 2021.
Moon Lander on Blue Origin Show in Early May Blue Origin website
Virgin Galactic, a handful of publicly traded space travel companies, has more than quadrupled its share price since it went public in early December, well above analysts’ highest rating, suggesting the stock’s rise is unsustainable. But Virgin Galactic’s explosive growth also illustrates investors’ optimistic vision and enthusiasm for commercial space.
Virgin Galactic web screenscreen after launch
National programs under huge investment and tough standards are still being pushed, such as the U.S. rebooted moon landing program Artemis, which aims to “send an American female astronaut and a male American astronaut to the moon” by 2024. At the same time, NASA’s choice to open up capital and technology, in partnership with private commercial space exploration companies, has also driven the development of private space, making space travel more likely to land faster. Perhaps in the new decade of the twenty-first century, ordinary people will still not set foot on the moon or Mars, but they have the opportunity to be in space, float ingested in a capsule, and see the moon, the Earth and the thousands of stars outside the window.