Launches, Launches, Launches! 2018 was a big year for takeoffs, especially for SpaceX and the billionaire CEO, Elon Musk. Last year also saw a number of notable flights to interplanetary destinations, including the surface of Mars and two asteroids. What will happen next year? More than the same, the only different way.
For more than two decades, I was writing end-of-year reports of the most important stories in space science and exploration, with a look at the next cosmic attractions. 2019 can achieve the developments I have been expecting on a year-on-year basis in a decade, such as the rise of commercial human space flights.
It is easier to predict other trends, because they are based on the cold hard realities of celestial mechanics. Check out these anecdotes from 2018, projected trends for 2019 and two year-end space collections dating back to 2001 (with a lot of failed forecasts). Then feel free to weigh with your comments to tell me what I missed.
Five Space Tales of 2018
The heavy falcon takes the journey: After years of development work, the powerful Falcon Heavy Super rocket in Spacex achieved a stunning success for the first time in the February launch, which was sent to billionaire CEO Elon Musk and starneer Starmanire in orbit beyond Mars. Falcon Heavy can send large payloads almost directly to geostationary orbit, a point of sale for heavy satellite operators ranging from ViaSat to the US military. But they will not be certified to carry people to distant destinations. For this reason, Musk intends to move to SpaceX's Starship (see below).
Mars missions fresh and faded: On the positive side, the NASA-based Landside Landside vehicle landed on the flat Elysee Planitia plain and began to deploy scientific tools to monitor Mars seismic activity and internal heat flow. On the negative side, the solar-powered solar vehicle "Frumonti" crashed out of contact this summer amidst a dusty storm covered by a planet that has not been heard since. Next year, NASA will either have an amazing story to tell – or read the rites and announce the end of the 15-year mission of San Francisco on Mars. Meanwhile, NASA's Coriosti, which operates with plutonium, continues to walk and go.
Big steps for small satellites: Speaking of InSight, the mission was marked by the first interplanetary ride CubeSat, featuring two Marco nanosatellites named as WALL-E and EVA. The couple worked perfectly, watching InSight's origin and sending them along their Red Planet photos. CubeSats and its likes were a big deal on other space missions, including the launch of 64 satellites operated by Seattle-based Spaceflight, the 104th satellite launch launched by the Indian Space Agency in February and the first launch by Rocket Lab-cost, From New Zealand.
Virgin Galactic's First Flight: For the first time since 2004, pilot pilots have penetrated space boundaries in the skies of California. A test flight for December carried a Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo rocket, called VSS Unity, at the top of the 50-mile mark. This is less than the 100 km altitude currently used as an international standard, but high enough to account for more than 600 "future astronauts" of whom Virgin Galactic participated in sub-orbital space flights. "I was thinking of space as a destination, but I now realize it's a journey, with some milestones along the way," said Virgin Galactic's billionaire founder, Richard Branson, in a video message to his grandchildren.
Seeing asteroids closely: Not only 1,018 people attended, but there were two encounters with asteroids near Earth. First, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa II was closed on a half-mile wide rock known as Ryugu and sent three mini-investigations. NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft then met with asteroid Pino, which is about a quarter mile long, and began making scientific observations. Both vehicles will descend to the surface of their asteroids, collect samples and carry them to the ground. The missions must provide new insights on how the solar system is formed – and how to turn asteroids that are potentially as threatening as Pino when the time comes.
Five Space Trends for 2019
New flights to space: Virgin Galactic's first space flight has offered "millions of dollars" for pilot pilots, but if things go well, travelers can start enjoying the scene next year and pay $ 250,000 (more or less) for the franchise. That's not all: Bill Beaver's billionaire project, Blue Orest, is expected to start with passengers aboard his new sub-spacecraft. SpaceX and Boeing are also working on new games. The current schedule calls for flights to the spacecraft "Dragon" developed by spacecraft "Space X" and Boeing "Boeing Starliner" belonging to the company "Boeing" to start heading to the International Space Station next year. This would set the first manned flight to orbit from the US soil since NASA retired its fleet from the space shuttle in 2011.
Setting the parameters on the moon: NASA's agenda for flights beyond the Earth's orbit calls for commercial robot flights to the moon early next year. There is also likely to be more preparation for (and discussion about) the construction of a crew-shaped platform in the moon's orbit, known as the Gate. In 2019 the focus should also be on the date of the moon's exploration, with the 50th anniversary of Apollo's Apollo 11 landing in July. The Seattle Aviation Museum will play a major role in the celebration, in part because the command unit at Apollo 11 is scheduled to be shown there to celebrate the anniversary. But wait … There's more: The Chinese spacecraft "Chang & # 39; e-4" should land on the far side of the moon in early January and deploy a mobile vehicle to explore new moon boundaries.
"Spacecraft" of Mars: SpaceX is a building The model is bright and shiny For his spacecraft – a spacecraft that was used to be known as Mars Colonial Transporter, Inter Transanetary Transit System, or Big F *** ing Rocket. Musk says short jump tests It can start in Texas in March or April, With a "full technical display" to follow. SpaceX and its Falcon super heavy engine were designed to carry passengers around the moon in early 2020, moving the settlers to Mars later this decade, essentially doing everything SpaceX needs to do on the space border (including point to point). Travel between interplanetary destinations, spacecraft service and satellite constellation deployments). Speaking of satellite configurations, next year may see further progress for StarX's Starlink broadband access network as well as competing networks from OneWeb, Telesat and other players.
Sky glasses: It is hard to applaud the total solar eclipse of 2017, but what about the total eclipse of the moon? North and South America are ideally positioned to see the full moon turn red (or perhaps brown smog) on the night of January 20-21. Through some definitions, this event will be marked "supermoon" as well. But I reserve the term for the largest full moon of a certain year (which happens on February 19 next year). There will also be a rare transfer to Mercury on November 11, and you will need to monitor solar power filters. If you are in a mood to travel, you can take a chance in a total solar eclipse that crosses the Pacific Ocean, Chile and Argentina on July 2 and the annular solar eclipse that passes through the Middle East and Asia the day after Christmas.
Beyond limits: Three years after Pluto's flight, NASA's New Horizons probe is set to make history again on New Year's Eve on Dec. 31. 1. The piano-sized spacecraft will pass a closer encounter with a mysterious object called Altima Thole, four billion miles on the edge of the snowy solar system. Because of the government's partial closure, NASA's coverage of the event will be very limited. Fortunately, New Horizons has created alternative coverage channels on Facebook, YouTube, and YouTube twitter (including JHUAPL An account managed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Web. I will also send a message from Mission Control to the APL, so follow us.
Years in space