Moon, NASA relies on SpaceX’s Elon Musk to bring the first woman with the Artemis mission, beaten Amazon’s Bezos
There is talk of really returning to the Moon, he dares to go as far as Mars, on the table there are tens of billions of dollars and around the table there are precisely the most famous billionaires of the Earth, but in the meantime, NASA must first respect the increasingly suffocating very American dogma of political correctness. Here then is that to announce a historic agreement, the US aerospace body immediately confirms in the first lines of the note that: a) the new first step on the Moon will be up to a woman (as President Obama already said in 2009, whether anyone ever tries to forget it); b) in the group of new pioneers there will certainly be a person of color. Guaranteed.
Having accomplished this mandatory task, we can also hypothesize the name and surname of this first woman who will jump to the Moon in 2024 or at least by 2028 thanks to NASA’s choice to rely on Elon Musk’s SpaceX to write the new chapter of space exploration entitled to Artemis, a woman, indeed a goddess, twin sister of Apollo who took the glory of the missions of the 60s and 70s. It will in fact be Tesla’s patron Starship spaceship to dish astronauts among the dusty craters and patience if the flag stars and stripes may be seen sideways to the SpaceX logo despite the US taxpayers’ 2.9 billion dollars (2.4 billion euros) cleared in Musk to make the last leg of the Earth / Moon journey and back.
And since you can play a cent on the one who will support you Neil Armstrong in our dreams, we focus on the Texan Loral O’Hara, 36, one of six women in the group of the last 14 astronauts selected by NASA in 2017 out of some 18,300 supercandidates. O’Hara is a phenomenon, it goes without saying, and is the only one of six colleagues to come out of Purdue University, Indiana, the cradle of astronauts. And, in the missions carried out so far by NASA, a third of the components come from the gigantic campus of West Lafayette, including not only Armstrong, but also Gene Cernan, or the first and last man of the 12 who walked on the moon from 1969 to 1972. Americans are crazy about statistics and then Loral O’Hara is our name in the hat, sorry, in the helmet.
This is bombastic news NASA-SpaceX agreement Why delegates to a private individual the role up to now covered only by government bodies, if we are talking about missions beyond the land. Among other things, it is not that this pact echoes harmoniously in Europe and especially in Italy, but this has happened since tycoons like Musk or Bezos or Branson decided to focus on space, free to spend, given that for every dollar invested in aerospace go back from 3 to 8, not to mention that Musk’s planetary visions do not have – for him – a price that is not worth bearing. Not to mention that private individuals must not beg for funds from Congress and wander through the jungle of bureaucracy.
To summarize: NASA, while counting on the support of the new president Biden, found itself facing a heavy cut in funding and sent to cards 48 the race that saw Musk’s Spacex on the field, the second richest man in the world; Blue Origin by Jeff Bezos (Amazon), the richest, leader of the National Team which includes giants such as Grumman and Lockheed-Martin already experts in human space flight, and the American Dynetics, which last year signed a agreement with the Italian Thales Alenia Space (the French Thales, 67% and the Italian Leonardo, 33%).
THE HLS MODULE
The goal is to build the future lunar module (the Lem of the Apollo missions) now called Hls (Human landing system). But NASA found itself in its pocket, for this specification of the Artemis project, only 850 million dollars, a pittance, you won’t even build three of the planned 200 USAF F22 fighters. So the Dynetics project came out immediately and among the other two competitors, considered technically equal, SpaceX won because it was cheaper. The lineup calibrated to 2024, but it would serve a miracle, foresees that the astronauts travel on the small Orion spacecraft of NASA pushed by the SLS rocket (one billion dollars per launch) up to the lunar orbit, then the transshipment on Musk’s glittering and mighty Starship to descend to the Moon and then ascend back to Orion. The fact is that the historic NASA policy of one step at a time (step by step) seems to pale in comparison to Musk’s boarding: both Orion and especially SLS are behind the times, while SpaceX, driven by dollars and the enthusiasm of the South African genius, burns the times. In reality, even the Starships tested so far (11 failures out of 11) burn or shatter but it is a reusable spaceship-rocket so far seen only in the movies.
There is a risk or hope – you say – that Musk, recently self-appointed “Emperor of Mars”, does not need anyone to go (with more numerous crews) directly to the Moon, because he already builds rockets too and also has the giant in the works Big Falcon Rocket (which among friends Musk calls with another word that begins with “f” and ends in “ing”). Furthermore, the agreement with NASA seems to place the international project of the orbiting station Lunar Gateway, also included in Artemis and with strong European and Italian participation, on the hidden side of the Moon (Samantha Cristoforetti deals with it, in particular), now defined as “not decisive” by NASA for landing on the satellite around which the new astronauts’ home will orbit in an eccentric way.
The old continent could redo with the construction of the lunar bases for which we are already at the forefront thanks to the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and agreements already signed, but it seems to already see the first person of color and the first woman of NASA on the Moon that, from the small portholes of those semi-underground bunkers, greet with the hand the rockets of Musk that engage the sixth and head towards Mars, the true final destination of the tycoon, whatever the cost.
Paolo Ricci Bitti
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