In the first routine flight NASA expects to be a long series, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket flew safely with Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi aboard the capsule secured above.
Less than three minutes after takeoff, at an altitude of 90 km and while the rocket was traveling at 7,000 km/h, the first stage disembarked without incident, to return to Earth and be used again, while the second stage with capsule continued its running. .
As European astronaut Thomas Pesquet tweeted, the first phase of the rocket will be used again for the mission that will take him and three colleagues to the station in the spring of 2021.
The astronauts will dock seven and a half hours later at the station, where two Russians and an American are, and remain there for six months.
operations following the successful demonstration mission from May to August, which brought in two American astronautsISS then returned to Earth safely by SpaceX.
US Vice President Mike Pence personally attended the launch. An hour before that, he praised the outgoing president for this success on Twitter.
” This will be only the second time in 10 years that astronauts have launched an American rocket from American soil! Thank you chief [Donald Trump]America is once again ruling the galaxy! »
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is the second device capable of joiningISS, along with the very reliable Russian Soyuz, which has brought all visitors to the station since 2011, after the stop of American shuttles. It took nine years for the Americans to prove the successor to the shuttles. The second aircraft, made by Boeing, could operate for a year.
Between Washington and Moscow
NASA hopes to continue cooperation with Russia. He offered places for cosmonauts on future missions, and he wanted the Americans to continue to borrow the Soyuz.
Negotiations are protracted, however.
We would like a seat exchangesaid Jim Bridenstine, the head of NASA, Friday, at a press conference.
Discussions continuehe simply says, an answer he has been giving for months now.
The fact is that relations between Washington and Moscow in the space field, one of the few where they have remained intact, are expanding. Separation from more than 20 years of cooperation withISSRussia will not participate in the next mini-station NASA wants around the Moon, the Gateway.
The boss of Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, joked in 2014 about the need for the United States of a
trampoline to joinISS . Elon Musk, boss of SpaceX, didn’t forget the tackle and exclaim in May, on the subject,
the trampoline works.
SpaceX has become Mr. pet peeve. Rogozin. Aside from being NASA’s carrier of choice, SpaceX is the market leader in private satellite launches, and the company has forced Russia to review its aging space program.
This summer, Roscosmos announced a project for a newly available rocket,
not semi-reusable as in SpaceXsaid Dmitry Rogozin.
Our engineers […] I don’t want to repeat what their SpaceX colleagues are doing, but surpass them.
The simple fact that Roscosmos compared itself to a private company illustrates the new era the world has entered since the 2010s: space is no longer the monopoly of states.
Critical time for NASA
The U.S. strategy that intensified under Donald Trump was to privatize access to Earth’s environments, that is, to step in for SpaceX and Boeing with billions of dollars worth of contracts, so that they could be service providers for NASA and for any person or private company, toISSor private mini-stations in the future.
The goal is to have more ways to do things that the private market does not yet have, like going to the Moon and Mars.again by Jim Bridenstine on Friday.
Political alternation in Washington is a dangerous moment for the space agency, which has not yet received from Congress the tens of billions of dollars needed to end the Artemis program to return to the Moon in 2024.
Mr Bridenstine has announced that he will step down to let President -elect Joe Biden set his own spatial directions. So far, Democrats have not endorsed the 2024 date to walk on the Moon again.