On May 30 at 21:22 Polish time from Cape Canaveral, the Falcon 9 rocket launched, on top of which was the Crew Dragon ship, in which astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were. This is the beginning of something new.
First things first.
The first approach to the manned start of Crew Dragon took place on Wednesday , but adverse weather conditions meant that a dozen or so minutes before the start was decided to postpone the mission . Although the weather forecasts for Saturday showed only a 50% chance of favorable weather conditions, it did succeed this time. If you have slept and not switched on any TV station in the last hours, below you can see what the start looked like.
The beginning of the era of commercialization of space
Contrary to appearances, the start of Dragon Crew, although it was a very important event, was not a breakthrough. Before scrolling to the comments section to scold me for this statement, let me explain what I mean.
Yes, we were dealing with a very important event for the space sector. After all, yesterday’s flight was the first test flight of a completely new spacecraft in over 40 years. It was also the first manned space flight carried out from the United States since 2011, when the space shuttle program was completed, thanks to which Americans, after a break of almost a decade, have their own means of transport to the International Space Station and are no longer dependent on Russian prices and Russian ships of Soyuz.
What is extremely important is also the first manned flight carried out by a private company. The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon are also the work of the same company. In practice, this means that low Earth orbit ceases to be the domain of governmental space agencies of individual countries, and has been opened to companies that will be able to implement their investments in orbit and, to put it simply, earn money on it. Therefore, over the next few years, we can expect many space missions that will not be scientific research but commercial ventures. In recent months we have already written about the vision of the development of space tourism , advertising or the film industry . After yesterday’s start, we are a big step closer to implementing these plans.
Is that good Certainly. If the industry does not stumble anywhere along the way, I see a realistic chance for the creation of the first hotels in space, for filming next films in orbit around the Earth, for the fact that the International Space Station will be largely kept commercially, not with money from the budget of individual countries . Contrary to appearances, the last element is very important. Every year, the United States spends around $ 3-4 billion on maintaining the ISS. If half of this cost is taken over by the private industry, then more can be allocated in the budget for the development of further space missions, e.g. for the implementation of the Artemis program, under which man is to permanently return to the surface of the Moon (hopefully nobody will decides to drown in SLS rockets).