Regardless of which mission astronauts are sent to achieve, the engineers who are sending them have to solve two fundamental problems: how to get space travelers off the planet (and orbit or on the way to moon or Mars) and how to recover them again. With decades of experience in the disappearance of space-based payloads, world space powers have unanimously decided on chemical rockets to best launch astronauts. Question of engineers are still discussing: What is the best way to extract them?
Boeing and SpaceX, who are planning to send astronauts to the international space station next year, have been asked to respond to space missions with two basic problems in the cosmic challenges of genius, economics and gee-whiz technology. Yet one of the most prominent elements of a private-space spacecraft is listening deeply into the last century: they are shaped like capsules by counting their blatant, vigorous shape and parachute that slow them down from 17,000 orbits per mph to people's passengers when they hit the planet.
The space vault had to stop everything when it took the first flight in 1981 and offered passengers comfort during a gentle runway. And creating the next generation of space transport, SpaceX initially tried to really lean on the future. Elon Musk and his team pressured a new type of lander, which was striving for rocket structures instead of parachutes to slow down the platform and prolonged legs to balance it with the touch screen – the so-called propulsion landing. "Thus the 21st century spacecraft will come," Musk praised in 2014, "on any planet with helicopter accuracy." SpaceX is largely successful in profitable decompression in payload delivery structures – the first phase of Falcon 9 regularly, and effectively, lands upright in the oceans or at Cape Canaveral. But such a leap forward with living astronauts requires time and money that NASA did not want to engage in a task whose main point of sale was the economy. At least what space observers appreciate Musk's lawful abandonment of the 2017 approach. So the parachutes made it again.
NASA astronaut splashdownit have acquired nostalgic, if not myth, a half century distance. But they were hairy things in real life. Gus Grissom almost drowned after another Mercury flight in 1961, a famous event that became more famous for the inaccurate description of the 1983 film Right things. The following year Scott Carpenter landed 250 miles from the course and spent three hours on a life raft before the rescue USS fearless.
Splashdown's adventures continued after the broadcast of the moon even after more than ten years of rapid technological development. The crew of the 1974 Skylab 4 and Apollo-Soyuz test project at the end of the year ended up in the ocean for some time as the heavy sea caught parachutes and landing. The problems of Apollo-Soyuz were gathered through the stretching of the stretcher to the passenger compartment, which required the astronauts to seize the oxygen masks that were more difficult to get upside down. Crew member Vance Brand disappears during the incident and one of his men had to put on the mask. In either case, "filled balls", outside the capsule, work as planned. The ships turned back on the surface, and the astronauts left quite intact.
Of course, there is an alternative to landing at sea: landing on the ground that the Soviet Union and then the Russian space program have been doing since the beginning. The Soyuz spacecraft, which was launched for the first time in 1967 and continues strong, rejects the planet in the wide and straight plains of Kazakhstan. It is not the most comfortable experience, ex-passengers report. "It is a kind of explosion that is followed by a car accident," says Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former NASA astronaut who returned from the international space station in Soyuz in 2007. "Seven months in space, it does not feel great."
Soyuz had an almost death-leading accident in 1976, when the return cap broke out of the course and touched the partially frozen lake – five miles from the beach at night in the middle of the jumping. The rescuers who were partially submarine at nine o'clock later did not avoid opening the hatch for two hours because they took into account that the cosmonauts had frozen to death. Hardy councils survived, even though they never fired again.
Lopez-Alegria, however, prefer to return to space at the Terra company, given the choice. "The landing of water seems to be a giant stomach flop, so I'm not sure that the effect is much less," he says. "And then I think I'd be happier on the land than the pigeon in the ocean." Ken Bowersox, the other landlord of Soijus, also thinks that the land is safer than water. "There may be a somewhat rough land on the land and still crawl out to the vehicle," he says. "If things do not go well in the water, it can be exciting pretty fast." Describing images in Bowersox's own Soyuz review in 2003 "a bit rough fall" could be a downturn. The capsule turned to ballistic landing, which took it to hundreds of miles of goal. But "we only waited for a few hours," he remembers. "Water would have been much less comfortable on the water." In terms of impact, Bowersox compares it with the aircraft landing aircraft operated by the fleet pilot. "It gets your attention, but it's not worse than the carnival track," he says.
NASA explored terrestrial landings at several times during the pre-shuttle season but rejected it for several reasons. At that time, the Office concluded that there was not a sufficiently wide, empty, homogeneous area in adjacent states in the United States. At least compared to the open, undivided space of the Kazakh plain, even the southwestern desert could not compete on its canyons, plains and outlying cities and reservations. The goal for landing was not accurate and sufficiently reliable. The country on which there was a huge amount of open water: plenty of access to two oceans, a coastal launch area and the current maritime infrastructure to look for astronauts in the water.
Another major consideration in these terrestrial studies was the weight of the spacecraft. Water drop may end up smacking to the depth, but the fluid still has a small dose; landing on the ground requires some additional features to compensate for a tough stop, such as the retro rocket that Soyuz burned when it had several legs off the ground during the final braking in seconds before the collision. This device makes a heavier vehicle but at the beginning of the 1960s, NASA's brain's confidence put pressure on it, they did not think they could get all the weight on the moon (see Sidebar).
Technology, however, improves and targets change. So Boeing redesigned the landing issue when it started designing its Starliner airline, about 2010. "The return journey has the advantage of getting access to the crew and all the ships," says Michael McCarley, a Boeing career man who worked on the shuttle on the last flight before moving to Starliner- a project leader in the re-inspection of the engine. But the weight of such a capsule is still a problem – or, as McCarley calls it a "mass balance".
Soyuz has been able to solve his big challenge in recording the Beatles Sgt. Pepper, but a Russian ship can only spoil with three astronauts – half of the space station crew. One key to an extended seven-passenger landing on the vehicle replaced those retror packs with airbags. Starliner counts for six (seventh, in the middle, only used for descent landing). They are filled with nitrogen and oxygen as goods but are designed as bicycle tires with separate inner and outer layers. The outer casing has openings that release the pressure during the landing, while the inner tube remains firm. Hopefully.
Except that the airbag system is lighter than the Soyuz rocket, it should be easier when half a year has already become empty in space, McCarley says. Ken Bowersox is one of the enthusiasts. "If you look at the tricks of people jumping out of buildings and end up in airbags, it should be a pretty reasonable fall," he comments.
Then there is McCarley's own pet project: the seat. One way or another Earth's returning space capsule slows through the atmosphere by about 4 G before it suddenly pauses, says Lopez-Alegria, who still sits in NASA's Human Rights Council. This is comparable to a tolerable 1.5 Gs sliding vessel. But the effect on astronaut's bodies is literally dependent on where and how they sit. Or lie to yourself because the human spine and other vital organs are not designed to absorb 4 Gs upright. Sojuz travelers have already started a country with a uniquely designed seat cushion. But McCarley had decided to improve it with modern ergonomics. He started the pile of his tank in the garage.
"The overall concept for the seat has not changed from the plywood model, but we have added some more sophisticated materials," McCarley says. The company also added 3D printing technology to create the entire custom seat for every Starliner passenger. Given the available space, this was an intensive study of the types of the human body.
McCarley, coarse 6 ", and Starliner engineer Melanie Weber, who stands a bit fifty feet, modeled herself the permissible size on the outermost boundaries. She was digging deeper into nuances, engineers working to match the range (" long arms that can actually get capsicum ", McCarley clarifies) or T-Rex (wide body with short arms). By designing the extremities, the team can better tailor body astronauts on each seat.
The Boeing team also wanted to improve the parachutes of the Soyuz era. For reasons lost in the history of the Cold War, the Russian cartoon comics, pilot, drug, and ultimately the main chute, open from the other side of the capsule followed by the pyrotechnic release of the seizure system, which forces the capsule to rush down straight down. Lopez-Alegria describes the result as "quite violent from side to side, like Toad's Wild Ride". Boeing promises to smooth the process with two symmetrical trusses, followed by three major spurts of extra stability, not to mention layoffs.
As for the capsule, the Starliner team is a more comfortable precision bait than the previous NASA engineers. The company has a list of five locations in the Western White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, Edwards Air Force Base in California, and Wilcox Playa in Arizona, where they will choose their primary and backup sites shortly before the end of each task. The nation has been struggling with long forgotten telephones and other obstacles and has been pursuing a broad range of environments and cultures to ensure astronaut security and the integrity of the country. For example, Dugway Proving Ground has set up an army during World War II to test chemical and biological weapons, and it also happens to be an archeological treasure archive of a 13,000-year-old original manufactured item.
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When Boeing engineers thought hard about the earth's details of the crude soil on their capsules, SpaceX began to work dreaming of Mars. In January 2011, the company released a futuristic 15-second video, depicting a neat trapezoidal spacecraft that made an unrestricted vertical landing without a parachute jumper supported by the flames to shoot from its four corners at an angle of approximately 30 degrees. Elon Musk describes "propulsion sailing with gears [how Apollo 11’s] Eagle descended into the moon. "It looked very cool.
But those flame shooting SuperDraco thrusters, as Musk later called, aimed more than dropping a 14,000-pound Crew Dragon capsule helicopter on any planet. SpaceX insisted that they could bring the same amount of mass safely to the surface of Mars, where the atmosphere is too thin to fall out of a parachute. The worst thing dropped to date was NASA's Curiosity Rover, which had about one-seventh of that mass and, of course, no vulnerable people's passengers.
SpaceX introduced the Crew Dragon prototype in 2014 with great hopes for two planets. In 2016, it sent a video of a test photo, which hovered confidently a few feet from the Texas platform. Musk played it off. Although Crew Dragon was technically still capable of unloading propulsion, he said in July 2017 at the Space Foundation's Research and Development Conference that "a huge amount of effort to achieve this security would be." In addition, he had since said "a much better approach" to landing in Mars, the details he is holding on. The capsule still carries SuperDraco engines, but they are only used for startup. (See "Pause!" October / New 2018.) The routine push-up crew Crew Dragon appears to come up as a footnote to the search history, though SpaceX continues to work on other vehicle technology, including the next-generation BFR rocket-not yet tested spacebus that promises to transport up to 100 passengers to the moon after that. The first paying customer of Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa was announced in September.
Fortunately, the company had a proven B plan to get a crew to the space station. Although SpaceX challenged a futuristic system on a manned ship, as this magazine would go on printing, its freighter has quietly fired from 15 successful missions to the space station and the capsule splash without incidents. So far, the company has managed to use four capsules despite the brine removal.
Crew Dragon is about 50 percent heavier than the freighter, so SpaceX compensates for extra mass with four parachutes that are symmetrically released above the vehicle and offer more attraction than classic three-dimensional discharges above the 1960s capsules. More than the Boeing Starliner, the company statement means "Crew Dragon Parachute System is the most powerful system ever designed for compression density and aerodynamic braking performance."
An increasingly noticeable difference between days is a modest fleet, SpaceX, which takes advantage of the astronaut's maritime capture. Published plans require a 164-foot ship GO Searcher, supported by a number of inflatable boats that are able to move closer to the decomposed capsule. GO Searcher is equipped with a helicopter to quickly transport astronauts to the beach if needed.
It is a dramatic contrast to the US navy fleet fleet, who steered to meet space travelers in the 1960s and 1970s. At least 24 naval vessels waited for John Glenn to take off after the first US orbital flight in 1962, and the Air Force wanted to reserve. However, the landings became more accurate and the invitation visit dropped to four ships during the last Apollo moon flight in 1972. Thus SpaceX's stripped-down brigade crew is not as minimalistic as it could look. (The company has a more sophisticated system in co-operation with the Air Force Prevention Teams after launching astronaut recovery.)
SpaceX is also proactively eager to expand its reusable technology to Crew Dragon. The team has gained extensive experience of water condensation and corrosion resistance from four freighter vessels. But now, SpaceX is only allowed to fly a crew on a new spacecraft, resulting in a somewhat ironic situation where Army Boeing uses the reusable capsule before SpaceX. Rocket moderators appreciate that the arrest is temporary.
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Human space flight inevitably requires the settlement of the worst cases. "I always wonder if there is anything hidden that we do not know?" Says Boeing Mike McCarley. "After the extreme space security of the 1960s, human space flight also appears to be necessary for delays and frustrating half-way repairs, but only engineers are able to come up with all promising systems such as: SpaceX propulsion platform. At the beginning of the program, commercial manned operations were optimistically targeted until 2015. Currently, they will seek mid-2019.
None of them should be fooled by the fact that private contractors are constantly trusting NASA, as well as astronauts to the past and the future, no matter what paths they continue. "For me, I do not care, they both go to work," Ken Bowersox concludes. "Making land or sea down is a more economic decision."
The delays in the program do not turn in a clear direction either: commercial flight flights, retro-landing systems, and all point to a thrilling new chapter in space exploration where private companies take futuristic projects from the mining of asteroids to Mars settlements. "This is revolutionary in many ways," says Lopez-Alegria. "It's the first time the government has fired shots on the size of a washing machine, which is a kind of Renaissance." It's the door he and many others are eager to walk. Lopez-Alegria's current gig is Axiom Space's business development manager who wants to build a private-funded space station at a cost of $ 1.5 billion.
First, new commercial vehicles come and their dramatic parachute returns – not just for the globe but for the first time in almost a decade to our country.