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A Ticket for $ 60 million

right on Saturn Causeway, Cape Canaveral/Florida, the rocket company Space-X wide. Here at the entrance to launch pad 39A, where 50 years ago the gigantic Satur

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A Ticket for $ 60 million

right on Saturn Causeway, Cape Canaveral/Florida, the rocket company Space-X wide. Here at the entrance to launch pad 39A, where 50 years ago the gigantic Saturn rockets of the Apollo missions to the moon at a snail's pace passed by the glitter of the blue letters of the aerospace company of Elon Musk in a Hangar. Space-X has secured the historic starting place until 2034, rebuilt, and this huge integration hall, in which a plurality of Falcon rockets.

Musk does not want to here in the middle of the floridi Republican swamp area, far from the Atlantic ocean, the history of the American space on his way to write. Here, where once Apollo 11 to the first manned landing on the moon is broken, he has started a year ago for the first time his new rocket, the Falcon Heavy - effective advertising with a Tesla sports car on Board, buzzing around now, somewhere in the solar system. On Saturday Musk wants to start with an unmanned first test flight of its astronaut capsule, Dragon 2, an Era in which for the first time a private company astronauts carried to the International space station ISS.

image: return to the moon

The Falcon 9 already for some weeks now "vertical" on the launch pad 39A, at the very top of the Dragon 2 capsule, perched in the up to seven astronauts of space can be found. The capsule is to be fitted in the test flight with a dummy, such as Space-X-Vice-President Hans Koenig man at a press briefing said. The flight should work to the ISS smoothly, could fly two astronauts in July, with the Dragon to the ISS, the Plan.

Nasa is expanding cooperation with the industry

Space-X, however, is not alone: Also the aerospace group Boeing has developed a Crew capsule with seven seats, the CST-100 Starliner is expected to start for the first time in April, a couple of kilometres further on, with an Atlas rocket, the United Launch Alliance, in a further Test in August, the three astronauts will fly to the ISS.

After private companies like Space-X to supply for years the ISS with cargo, expanding the American space Agency, Nasa, its cooperation with the industry. A break in the space.

for the First time since 2011, as the flights were set up with the space Shuttle, could bring the USA in this year's independent people into space without the Russians dependent: flew, A whole Generation of astronauts with the Soyuz capsule to the ISS, according to Nasa information for about 80 million dollars per seat. In the case of Space-X and Boeing to cost about $ 60 million.

"manned space flight is the core mission of a Space X, there is nothing more important."Hans Koenig man, Space-X-Vice-President

Nasa had launched the so-called Commercial Crew Program in 2010, to bridge the gap after the space Shuttle as soon as possible. Of five company , which wanted to build the crew capsule, Boeing and Space-X have remained over the get according to Nasa, a total of 4.8 respectively, to 3.1 billion dollars, to develop the spacecraft. The first manned flight should take place in 2017 - but there were delays. The court of auditors of the U.S. Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), had spoken of risks for the safety of the Crews. GAO identified about weaknesses in the start system, and criticised the fact that Space-X wants to refuel his rocket if the astronauts have already taken the capsule in place. And Boeing had to rework the Rescue and landing system for his Starliner.

"The spaceship is not yet fully qualified," said Nasa Manager Bill Gerstenmaier. "But we know that the Hardware is good enough to make this demonstration flight." Especially since the Dragon 1 capsule has already flown 15 cargo missions to the ISS. Ultimately, it is also important to identify in the case of Dragon 2, further defects. "We expect that we will learn on this flight a lot." Currently, there are still possible problems with the parachute system and the nozzles must be solved on the capsule. As for the tank problem, so the Falcon 9 will be fueled shortly before the Start. The astronauts are already on Board, but can be a rescue system to be evacuated.

Space-X-Manager Koenig man who has developed the concept of reusable rockets, happy. "The manned space flight is the core mission of a Space X, there is nothing more important," he says, and speaks of exciting times. In the sixties, the native of Berlin has followed the moon landings with enthusiasm on television, now he is working on the historic launch pad in Cape Canaveral.

landing in the Atlantic ocean provided

Even if the capsule is now filled to the demonstration flight on Saturday only with supply cargo and Hardware for the ISS, hopes Koenig man, that he can then say goodbye in the summer to pad 39A for the first Time astronauts. And because the Dragon 2 will already dock now at the first test flight to the space station, there will also be photos with the ISS astronauts can take to the Unloading test to the console space.

next Friday, the Dragon will land capsule again in the Atlantic. That you don't land as originally provided with its own drive is spectacular on solid ground, is also due to the caution of Nasa: "It would have been connected with a tremendous effort, to have this procedure approve it," said Musk.

The plans go much further – to Mars

Anyway, it seems to be measured in the further plans of the Space-X heads - the way to the ISS just a warm-up. In January, tweeted Musk, an image that had, as he would all of a sudden his true beloved show: To see the Starship was, or better: an experimental model. It is not meant for space travel, but should only be used for the testing of take-offs and landings. The silver-colored thing shone so unreal in the sun, Musk added, as a precaution, that if it were a real picture. Disturbing the shape of the test model. It was amazing and if you like Musk is to be believed, is also not quite at random - to a rocket model of the "Tim and Struppi"comic series.

Starship is the new Name for the Big Falcon Rocket, a more than 100-Meter-long construct from the spacecraft and carrier rocket. So it could go to view from the Musk of the earth "throughout the solar system". The outer skin should then consist of a stainless steel alloy. Of steel is considered to be much too heavy for the rocket. However, Musk claims that the comparatively low-cost Material could be made to work with Starship, even if it would enter the atmosphere of Mars. In order to withstand the enormous friction heat, cooling from tiny Openings to water and fuel to the surface, and the outer skin protect: Starship would be sweating.

Measured against these bold Dragon is the only Dream of conventional space travel. But the is tricky enough. Then, at the latest, when the capsule with slightly kokelten heat tiles will be pulled from the water, you will recall that the space close to earth is a business that moves at the limits of feasibility.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 01.03.2019, 21:17 PM

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