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The dream of achieving manned trips and enabling human settlements on other planets is about to come true. Mars is the planet chosen to present environmental conditions more similar to Earth, several space agencies have developed projects around this theme.
There are many obstacles that should be overcome to achieve this dream, some of them would be:
- Facing the effects of exposure to cosmic radiation, ionizing radiation, low gravity, and low luminosity.
- Facing the high cost of carrying out the project, considering years of trial, since the benefits generated will not be short term.
- Overcoming technological obstacles to travel, in particular having the energy to travel with people on board, and generate oxygen and water for human consumption and providing support services to the crew, especially medical services.
Regarding this, private companies have started a race to develop new human-rated vehicles, being the NASA’s Commercial Crew program as both a SpaceX and Boeing those who compete to become the first company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
This video shows the advances of both companies in the manufacture of spacecraft to guarantee the safety of the crew and therefore the success of this long-awaited project.
SpaceX has been developing the Dragon 2 or Crew Dragon whilst Boeing has been developing the CST-100 Starliner. This video focuses primarily on showing the development of SpaceX’s Crewed Dragon because Boeing’s Starliner program whilst making progress has been comparatively quiet on public updates.
On February 2017 SpaceX announced that it had been authorized to fly two citizens on a trip around the Moon late next year and it thanked NASA’s Commercial Crew Program for providing most of the funding for Dragon 2 development. SpaceX announced that the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was developed with internal SpaceX funding was due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, would be the greatest and powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V Moon rocket. At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.
SpaceX said: “As a portion of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, we are going to present our Crew Dragon Version 2 spacecraft to the International Space Station. This first demonstration assignment will be in automatic mode, without people on board. A subsequent mission with the crew is expected to fly in the second quarter of 2018. SpaceX is now contracted to achieve an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS per year, three carrying cargo and one carrying crew. By also flying privately crewed missions, which NASA has encouraged, long-term costs to the government decline and more flight reliability history is gained, benefiting both government and private missions.”
At the same time, SpaceX commented that each successfully completed mission would lead them to their ultimate goal, which was simply to transport humans to Mars with the security provided by their long flight heritage.
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