Competition Comes to Space Industry
The private rocket company Space-X is currently developing the Falcon Heavy, a heavy-lift rocket capable of carrying twice the payload of current rockets at half the cost.
What's the Latest Development?
The private pace venture Space-X is investing money into the Vandenberg Air Force Base to make its facilities suitable for launching rockets into space. Space-X's latest project is a heavy-lift vehicle called Falcon Heavy which it expects can carry a payload of 117,000 pounds in low Earth orbit. This is double the current limit of 50,000 pounds that can be carried by Boeing/Lockheed Martin's heavy lift vehicle. Space-X says each launch of its Falcon Heavy will cost only half as much as the rocket the Air Force currently depends on to launch satellites.
What's the Big Idea?
Competition has come to the space industry, and not a moment too soon. After space shuttle Atlantis completes its final mission this month to restock the International Space Station (I.S.S.), N.A.S.A. will no longer have the capability to launch astronauts into space. Space-X has already been contracted to restock the I.S.S. when its heavy-lift vehicle is operational. The company's main goal is to attract government contracts, specifically armed forces missions to launch space satellites. Currently the military relies on a joint launch venture controlled by Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
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How can we use the resources that are already on the Moon to make human exploration of the satellite as economical as possible?
If you were transported to the Moon this very instant, you would surely and rapidly die. That's because there's no atmosphere, the surface temperature varies from a roasting 130 degrees Celsius (266 F) to a bone-chilling minus 170 C (minus 274 F). If the lack of air or horrific heat or cold don't kill you then micrometeorite bombardment or solar radiation will. By all accounts, the Moon is not a hospitable place to be.
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