Space X brings two US astronauts to space. The new frontier of private industry

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SPACE becomes a new frontier: yes, but of private industry. Demo-2, the first spaceship entirely made in the USA with human personnel on board, will take off on Wednesday 27th from the Kennedy Space Center, in the presence of the president Donald Trump and very few other guests. And it will truly be the consecration of that Space X of the billionaire of South African origin Elon Musk, Just 48 years old. The visionary founder also of the PayPal online payment system and of the Tesla one that revolutionized the electric car market. Of course, the Falcon missile that will carry the Dragon capsule with the two astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board, up to the International Space Station, starts four years behind the original plans, due to two catastrophic launches. But for Americans that launch is a real Independence Day: the day of emancipation from the Russian Soyuz used for that task since NASA decided to step back 9 years ago. When he chose to entrust the development of new space vehicles to private industries, he began to pay others for specific services.That’s why the rocket leaving Wednesday is truly a new beginning of space exploration. America can finally return to imagining a future among the stars. At the space race, on the other hand, President Trump holds a lot. It also established that Space Force, the sixth branch of the armed forces, which will have to watch over satellites launched beyond the atmosphere. NASA and the White House, therefore, can really start looking back: assuming the astronauts return to the Moon by 2024. And why not, imagine them in a not too distant future, even on Mars: with Musk already designing an immense rocket destined to carry a huge number of passengers.
Many observers, note the Wall Street Journal, already equate the importance of this launch to the Gemini missions of the sixties, those that paved the way for landing on the Moon. This time, however, NASA, which has invested around $ 7 billion in the company, is “a customer rather than an operator. If the project fails, it will take the blame. If it is a success, the glory will go to Space X, “former White House space adviser Mark Albrecht tells business newspaper.Of course, the Musk space company is not the only private industry competing for the conquest of NASA orders. Boeing has already developed a rival capsule, the Starliner, according to rumors ready to make its test flight without astronauts later this year. And then there are Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit and Blue Origin of Jeff Bezos: but for the latter, the arrival of the coronavirus has eroded the prospects for short-term funding.


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Space X, on the other hand, is far ahead of the rest. And it has already recorded several records: first private company to send a satellite into Earth’s orbit; first to reuse part of the missile components returned to the base. First to send vehicles to the International Space Station. Of course, its operations have also been slowed down by the pandemic. But the project, designated as essential by the authorities, went ahead, with the staff who could continue to work, contrary to what happened at the Tesla factory, where Elon Musk then ended up forcing the lockdown by reopening a week earlier than expected . The launch on Wednesday is therefore highly anticipated. If all goes well, we will truly be facing a new frontier.




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https://www.repubblica.it/scienze/2020/05/24/news/il_lancio_del_razzo_di_space_x_e_la_nuova_frontiera_dell_industria_privata-257504637/

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