(Updated on 31/05/2020)
Life on Mars has long been of interest, and NASA is expected to deploy a Perseverance rover and an Ingenuity helicopter to the planet to uncover its ancient life. On his end, Elon Musk has been championing space travel initiatives as the CEO of SpaceX since 2002.
SpaceX’s Advanced Techniques :
Musk’s decision to pursue space ventures with SpaceX arose from his realization that building a vehicle for space could be achieved in-house. The line of Falcon rockets is perhaps the most prominent, with the purpose of reducing costs, reusability, and simpler manufacturing and assembly.
Falcon 9 rockets are said to have vertical landing systems with the rocket rotating 180 degrees. Advances in the technology behind printed circuit boards (PCBs), which power today’s IoT devices, has helped with the development of SpaceX rockets.
SpaceX designers are able to utilize PCB routing software for the Falcon 9 as it has allowed them to be able to create the systems they need with ease. The efficiency and advanced verification ability of today’s PCB technology help control vertical landings.
Moreover, this is highly flexible and adaptable to changing needs. The Falcon 9 rockets have been used to launch SpaceX’s Starlink satellites meant for beaming high-speed internet connection across the world, albeit with mixed responses.
Passed Tests :
SpaceX’s next-generation deep-space rocket Starship SN4 hopes to send both cargo and crew to Mars and the Moon and passed a cold pressure test or cryogenic proof test, which would allow it to fly at altitudes of around 492 feet at the next stage.
This is a landmark achievement given that previous prototypes of the space vehicle have failed. By loading the vehicle with tremendously cold liquid nitrogen, this determines the vehicle’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures and pressures during the launches.
A new Raptor engine specifically created for the vehicle will be installed and ignited at the base of the Starship prototype to conduct tests for its engine’s functionality, before installing three engines to the succeeding prototypes.
The test for this stage mimics the landing of Falcon 9 rockets, which is a small-scale version of how the actual space to Earth landing will commence one day.
SpaceX successfully launched 1st astronauts for NASA on a historic test flight :
SpaceX on 30th May, Saturday has successfully completed its landmark DEMO-2 mission by launching NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station(ISS) on a Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew Dragon capsule into the orbit.
Its sister company, Tesla also provided Model X vehicles to drive astronauts to this historic launch – the first mission of its kind on US soil in almost a decade.
The rocket successfully lifted off from Pad 39A in NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT) marking the new beginning of commercial space exploration. This SpaceX’s final test before it is given the go-signal from NASA for its future missions has indeed achieved its milestone. The Falcon 9 booster’s 1st stage made its way safely back to the ground with a smooth landing on SpaceX’s drone ship.
Future Plans :
This rocket is meant to be reusable and able to undergo several launches and landings as a commercial airplane would. SpaceX is eyeing the latter part of this year for Starship’s maiden voyage to space, and Musk hopes to reach the moon by 2022.
SpaceX is also attempting to mitigate Starlink concerns by improving the satellites’ automated system to avoid potentially clashing satellites, lowering their brightness and reflectivity, and lessening the obstruction of the satellites in astronomers’ work.
The possibilities of these innovations by SpaceX are both exciting and nerve-wracking, but it is with great hopes that they are taking us one step closer to discovering alternate life beyond what we can comprehend.
Article credit: John Blackwell