Monday June 17, 2019
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NASA Experts Suggest That The SpaceX’s Rocket Technology Could Put Astronauts at Risk

As NASA and SpaceX prepare to launch humans into orbit as early as this year, one watchdog group labelled load-and-go a "potential safety risk," the Post reported.

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NASA image.
Just 11 years after Eisenhower authorized NASA, American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Pixabay

An approach used by SpaceX to make its Falcon 9 rocket more powerful could put the lives of astronauts at risk, NASA’s safety experts have warned.

To make the Falcon 9 rocket even more powerful, SpaceX came up with the idea of keeping the propellant at super-cold temperatures to shrink its size, allowing them to pack more of it into the tanks. But the approach comes with a major risk, The Washington Post reported on Saturday citing the experts.

The new approach requires the propellant to be loaded just before takeoff, while astronauts are aboard, but an accident during this manoeuvre, known as “load-and-go,” could set off an explosion.

An approach used by SpaceX to make its Falcon 9 rocket more powerful could put the lives of astronauts at risk, NASA's safety experts have warned.
A space shuttle, Pixabay

As NASA and SpaceX prepare to launch humans into orbit as early as this year, one watchdog group labelled load-and-go a “potential safety risk,” the Post reported.

In a letter, a NASA advisory group warned that the method was “contrary to booster safety criteria that has been in place for over 50 years.”

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SpaceX suffered a setback in September 2016 when a Falcon 9 rocket blew up while it was being fuelled ahead of an engine test.

As a result of the explosion, a multi-million dollar satellite was lost. Although no one was hurt in the incident, it raised safety concerns in the minds of the people at NASA.

The report quoted NASA’s William Gerstenmaier as saying that the agency had not decided whether it would allow SpaceX to load crews before loading the fuel. (IANS)

 

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NASA: Sending Back Astronauts to Moon in 2024 Could Cost About $30 Billion

The entire project will be framed as a practice run for a future mission to Mars

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NASA, mars
NASA, which has dubbed its current lunar programme Artemis (after Apollo's twin sister, the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and the moon), plans to send one male and one female astronaut to the moon in 2024. VOA

Returning astronauts to the moon in 2024 could cost about $30 billion, or roughly the same price tag as the Apollo 11 spaceflight when factoring in inflation, NASA has said.

“For the whole programme, to get a sustainable presence on the moon, we’re looking at between $20 and $30 billion,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a TV interview on Friday, though noting that that figure does not include money already spent on the rocket and space capsule the agency plans to use for the programme, Efe news reported.

The total cost of the Apollo programme that the US launched in 1961 and concluded in 1972 was $25 billion. The climax of that programme came nearly 50 years ago when two astronauts landed on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission, which cost $6 billion at the time, equivalent to $30 billion today.

nasa, moon
Then one male astronaut and – for the first time – a female astronaut would set foot on the lunar surface in 2024. Pixabay

NASA, which has dubbed its current lunar programme Artemis (after Apollo’s twin sister, the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and the moon), plans to send one male and one female astronaut to the moon in 2024.

Bridenstine recalled that the main difference between the Apollo programme and the Artemis program is that the former culminated with brief stays on the moon while the latter will entail a permanent human presence there.

The plan will involve the recruitment of private companies and international partners, the construction of a lunar space station and manned landings at the moon’s south pole within five years.

NASA, moon
That rocket will send into orbit a new spacecraft known as Orion, whose lead contractor is Lockheed Martin. VOA

The entire project will be framed as a practice run for a future mission to Mars. The programme includes an unmanned mission around the moon in 2020 and a manned mission that also will orbit the moon two years later. Then one male astronaut and – for the first time – a female astronaut would set foot on the lunar surface in 2024.

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The three lunar missions will be delivered into space by the Space Launch System, a rocket being developed by NASA and Boeing that will be the largest ever built once it is fully assembled. That rocket will send into orbit a new spacecraft known as Orion, whose lead contractor is Lockheed Martin.

Besides these missions exclusively handled by NASA, five other launches will be carried out to place in lunar orbit the components for construction of the Gateway mini-space station, which will serve as a staging post for moon landings. Those five missions between 2022 and 2024 will be operated by private companies, according to NASA’s plans. (IANS)