During a cabinet-level meeting that took place on Friday, Dec. 25th, the government of India announced that the Indian Space Research Organization‘s (ISRO) first crewed mission to space will consist of a three-astronaut team being sent to orbit. The government also announced that they had a approved a budget of $1.4 billion to fund the development of the requisite technology and infrastructure for the program.
The decisions to send astronauts to space was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15th, during India’s Independence Day celebrations. At that time, Modi directed the ISRO to conduct a crewed mission to orbit by 2022, which would coincide with the 75th anniversary of India gaining its independence.
The Chang’e-4 mission, which was first announced in 2015, consists of a lunar lander and a rover (Yutu-2, or “Jade Rabbit”), similar to the Chang’e-3 mission. On May 20th, 2018 – shortly before the mission launched – China sent a satellite (Queqiao) to the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange Point to relay communications between the lander and rover (since direct communication with the far side of the Moon is impossible).
In what will be another first in space exploration, the Chang’e-4 rover will explore the South Pole-Aitken Basin, a vast impact region in the Moon’s southern hemisphere that is believed to have formed roughly 4 billion years old (as a result of a massive impact). Measuring roughly 2,500 km (1,600 mi) in diameter and 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) deep, it is the largest impact basin on the Moon and one of the largest in the Solar System.
This site was selected because of the vast amounts of water ice discovered there in recent years.
4. Nextbigfuture – There was a rendering of Super Heavy Starship with Side boosters created by someone modifying the Kimi Talivitie renderings of the metallic SpaceX Super Heavy Starship. Kimi Talivitie is the original creator. Someone else copy/pasted 2 boosters beside it to make the heavy.
5. Nextbigfuture- Howard Hughes was paid $23 million ($300 million inflation adjusted) to develop the Spruce Goose. It was the largest airplane in the world at the time. It did not fly until after World War 2. Hughes had to fly it because the US government said he was a war profiteer who took money but did not deliver a working plane.
One hundred times more money could end up going into a rocket dead-end with the Space Launch System. Space Launch System will be surpassed by SpaceX Heavy with four side boosters and the Super Heavy Starship.
It will cost $35 to $40 Billion to get to a First Integrated Launch of SLS and Orion in 2021. There has already been $29 billion spent and another $11.9 billion on the Constellation program.
6. Nextbigfuture – Why Don’t Other Rocket Companies Test More Rockets? SpaceX and China have been the builders and testers of new rockets for the last decade. Other countries and companies rarely test new rockets. Many other competing companies and nations have as much or more money, but they just do not test and launch.
SpaceX was formed in 2002. They had the first attempt at flight in March 2006. They successfully flew on their fourth attempt in 2008. Since their first mission in June 2010, rockets from the Falcon 9 family have been launched 67 times, with 65 full mission successes, one partial failure and one total loss of spacecraft. In addition, one rocket and its payload were destroyed on the launch pad in the fueling process before a static fire test.
United Launch Alliance merged in Dec 2006. ULA operates the Atlas V, Delta IV, and Delta IV Heavy launch vehicles since 2006. The Atlas V and Delta IV rockets were respectively developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing as part of the EELV program and first launched in 2002, while the Delta II was previously built and launched by Boeing. ULA has only launched one new rocket since it was formed in 2006 and that was the Ares-I in 2009. They also launched the Orion capsule in 2014 but that was on a
In 2014, ULA began development of the Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle, which is designed to meet medium and heavy lift requirements, and will replace both Atlas V and Delta IV. Development of Vulcan began in an effort to lower costs and end reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines used on the first stage of Atlas V. Vulcan will use the RL10 to power the Centaur V upper stage and a pair of BE-4 engines for its main stage. The Vulcan inaugural flight is scheduled for mid-2020.
Blue Origin has had about ten test flights of the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket. Blue Origin has had test firings of the BE-4 rocket. Blue Origin has not flown to orbit.