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Doubtful return to the moon

The announcement was clear, and it came as a surprise: within the next five years, US Vice President Mike Pence at the end of March during an appearance in Alabama, to be walking again, Americans over the moon. An astronaut will be. And the people will remain, the moon to explore and the necessary experience for flights in the Depths of the solar system.

Pence, a Team of U.S. President Donald Trump for the space charge, like the staging. For his great – critics are saying: large-lane – announcement he had traveled to Huntsville, in the cradle of the American Raketenbaus.

There, in style under a prototype of the mighty Saturn V, which had brought in 50 years ago, the first humans to the moon, he dictated the space Agency, Nasa the new task, without the necessary Patriotism: "to make it very clear," says Pence, "the first woman and the next man on the moon will be American astronauts launched from U.S. soil with American rockets."

"No bucks, no Buck Rogers"

About a month later, much is still unclear, even if Nasa already operates a massive advertisement for the new target. Slowly emerges that many hurdles must be overcome before people land on the moon. Not in space, but in Washington.

The biggest Problem is the money: "No bucks, no Buck Rogers" is a winged word in the US- space , a space-traveling sci-Fi hero: No money, no astronauts. More than $ 40 billion (converted to today's purchasing power) have spent the USA in the 1960s, in order to bring twelve people to the moon. So expensive it is not likely to be this Time.

The current Nasa budget is not enough anyway. The Budget is more than $ 20 billion, but planned largely for the academia, as well as the International space station (ISS). And Nasa chief Jim bride Stine has already announced that he would not like to cannibalize these areas due to the moon program"".

Technical problems

Two to four billion dollars should Nasa alone for the year 2020 are missing. Money, the need to collect bride Stine in the politically divided U.S. Congress, which decides on the Nasa Budget. And that will be difficult. "Technically the project is realistic. Not easy, but doable," bride Stine recently in an interview with the magazine "Ars Technica". "Significantly larger that the political risk is: How do we get the money together?"

Worries, however, also makes the rocket. Since 2011, Nasa has developed under the name Space Launch System (SLS) for so far, $ 14 billion for a new heavy rocket for flights to the moon and to Mars. In 2016, the Monster should stand up for the first Time. Due to the great technical and organizational problems during the manufacturer Boeing the current start date to the end of 2020 is now even in danger.

The USA as well as China want to build on the moon a base to explore the universe. Visualization: Nasa

But Nasa can barely search for Alternatives: the SLS is primarily a political project. The U.S. Senate wants to secure jobs in the major space States- in Alabama. The influential Senator Richard Shelby, one of the largest SLS-advocate, sits just to the budget Committee. Say: Without SLS also no money for the moon.

bride Stine, a policy professional, of the five years for the Republicans in Congress, sass, and white. Nevertheless, he repeats incessantly the Motto of Pence: The moon does not count, by the way. And he always brings Alternatives into the game, the last of which even the Falcon Heavy, the private rocket company Spacex.

the moon is The path that counts, not there.

Also, bride Stine, according to U.S. media, were the moon plans to realize; there is a need for an improved upper stage. For SLS Fans, the mention of Spacex comes alone, however, is a sacrilege. It almost seems as Pence and bride Stine would give the Boeing managers a last Chance: "Either you make it to 2024, or we look for Alternatives."

Then the moon dream would be dreaming, although preliminary, bride Stine, the unloved, the SLS would be. And would open the way for cheaper, commercial moon adventure. In addition, Nasa is considering to streamline the testing program of the SLS. The main stage of the rocket, with its four engines would for the first time awakening to the launch pad to life and not on the bench. A risky step.

Staged race

time is of The essence, even in the case of the country ferry, for which there is as yet only ideas competitions, and in the case of a planned space station in moon orbit, which is needed as a base for landings. This so-called Gateway, is planned as an international project.

so Far wishes to participate in only Canada with a robotic arm. Russia and Japan hesitate. And Europe, at the earliest, at the end of the year via a share. Pence’ aggressive American rhetoric is not helpful.

Especially since a convincing reason for missing, to land again on the moon. The Apollo program was so successful because it was able to be sold as a race with the Soviets. Today the scientific exploration of the moon, the estimate of degradation of soil must be used, the lessons for future Mars travel as reasons. Nothing excites the masses.

"This Time is more on the game."Mike Pence, U.S. Vice President

In Huntsville, tried to Pence, therefore, with the handle in the race box: China, the strategic Superiority of wool gained on the moon, and the leading space-faring nation. "We are again in a race," said Pence. "And this Time more is at stake."

The Problem: China is pursuing an ambitious space program, is the beginning of the year as the first Nation with a robot vehicle on the far side of the moon landed and one day would like to go there with the astronauts. In a race, the political leadership has no interest. Much prefer the people's Republic would cooperate and as a result, your world-wide Reputation. Such a cooperation of the US Congress rejects strictly.

on the Other hand: Compared with similar initiatives from the past Pence’ announcement has a big advantage: their schedule. As President of George W. Bush Nasa's 2004 Order to return to the moon, was granted the landing for 2020, long after Bush's term in office. Successor, Barack Obama had little scruples, the stress moon plans. He replaced it with his own ideas of a Mars landing, which themselves were conceded immediately by Trump. Until 2024 Pence and Trump have a Chance to implement their plans. Assuming that Trump is confirmed by the end of 2020, in the office.

(Tages-Anzeiger)

Created: 12.05.2019, 19:12 PM

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