Last Saturday, May 30, NASA in collaboration with the company SpaceX launches the capsule Crew dragon, the first manned spacecraft developed by a private company, bound for the international space station at an altitude of 410 km.
This was the second attempt after canceling the previous attempt on May 27 due to weather reasons.
This is the first manned launch from US soil after almost a decade thanks to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, in collaboration with NASA, hence the great expectation it has raised around the world.
A historical event
This fact has marked a milestone in history as it is the first time that a private company such as SpaceX has had the capacity to assume the cost of launching a manned ship into space that until now was only within the reach of a few countries.
This has been made possible thanks to the arrival on the scene of the controversial genius Elon Musk, known for other great projects such as: Tesla Motors, Solar city, The Bouring project, Open AI, neural link and co-founder of paypal among others.
His entry into the aerospace scene has brought about a revolution modernizing and lowering costs like never before in this sector.
All systems and protocols have been redesigned to make them more efficient, cheaper and, where possible, more reusable.
Regarding this last point, the fact of being able to recover the different phases of the rocket by making them land vertically, has been quite an achievement, being able to reuse up to 95% of the components for more than one launch.
We must not lose sight of the fact that what moves this talented businessman, and what he transfers to his companies, is the reduction of pollutant emissions into the atmosphere and trying to be as respectful as possible with the environment.
Before creating spaceX, Elon Musk traveled to Russia in search of a missile, devoid of a disused nuclear warhead, and to adapt it to launch into space, but as soon as he saw its cost and the technology they had, it seemed to him more practical to redesign everything from scratch and build the rockets yourself.
To reduce costs as much as possible, they started from the premise of manufacturing each piece necessary for the construction of both the rocket, ship, instrumentation, infrastructure, etc. in such a way as to eliminate all the additional costs of intermediaries and contractors with whom the government had previously worked through NASA.
This is expected to continue to be the case, since there is a lot of politics involved and many jobs at stake, but at least the range is opened up a little more, allowing the entry of new companies that can contribute a little of fresh air.
It has been thanks to manufacturing each necessary component that has allowed us to drastically reduce costs that were previously unthinkable for a private company.
Elon Musk was on the verge of going bankrupt at the beginning of spaceX, since after 3 failed launches they had already exhausted the capital invested, having to contribute 70 million of their own assets for a last launch which this time went well.
From here he got funding from NASA to make some launches for them.
The ultimate goal is to colonize Mars
In short, little by little Elon Musk is getting closer to his goal of one day reaching Mars and creating a human colony there with up to 1 million inhabitants.
The motivation stems from trying to preserve human life in the event of a catastrophe on earth, whether due to the fall of a meteorite, a nuclear war or another global disaster that could endanger the survival of the species .
If we were a multi-planetary species, it would be possible to minimize the risks of disappearing in the event of a disaster.
Mars is the planet in our solar system with conditions most similar to Earth:
- The size of Mars is about half that of Earth with a gravity of 3.7 m/s², higher than that of the Moon which is only 1.9 m/s² but less than Earth’s gravity of 9, 8m/s².
- The planet also has an atmosphere, although it is not breathable, which provides part of its advantages as a protective shield against the different radiations
- It also has a tilted axis of rotation thanks to which the different seasons occur as on Earth.
- The duration of a day on the red planet is 24 hours and 37 terrestrial minutes, which for us would be practically the same as a day on earth, although the time to go around the sun is 687 days instead of the 365 of the earth which would make the different seasons longer.
Gravity is a point of concern, since a long stay on the surface of Mars makes it impossible to return to Earth due to the negative effect of gravity on the body, such as decreased muscle mass or bone density.
These are all issues that will have to be studied and solutions found before embarking on the adventure of possible colonization.
There is still a lot of time left, there is talk of 15 or 20 years, but steps like those of this first manned launch are necessary for this to be possible one day.
The ozone layer is in danger again
This reduction in costs and the fact that entry has been opened to more companies to carry out launches, means that a significant increase in these can be glimpsed, being today a frequency of 2 to 3 launches per week.
Most launches are to place satellites in orbit, such as the more than 400 satellites for a 5G network that Elon Musk’s companies are also building.
This has caused the alarms to be raised again, which already sounded in the 70s and 80s, with the supersonic commercial aircraft projects that several companies started, leaving only the Franco-English company Concorde which operated until 2003 making its last flight that year.
Studies had been done that said that 500 daily flights for a year could reduce the ozone layer by 50%, but finally the company Concorde only built 20 devices with which they never reached those figures.
Currently the impact on the ozone layer due to rocket launches is 0.03% of the total factors.
Although it may not seem like much, that is already more than the aerosols used in inhalers affected throughout the United States in one year and which have already been banned.
In the first treaty of 1987 in Montreal, in which a global agreement was signed for the total elimination of CFCs as of 1996, legislation was passed on all the chemical causes of ozone destruction, most of them generated by ground level in the troposphere, and the aerospace industry directly impacting the stratosphere was not limited.
Perhaps in that year the use of rockets was still very anecdotal but today it is beginning to be worrying.
NASA has carried out studies predicting that if the current increase in launches continues, from 5% to 7% per year, by the year 2050 it will already be generating more impact on the ozone layer than was generated with chlorofluorocarbons CFCs.
We must look for alternatives to the fuels used for rockets, as was done in its day with CFCs, and come up with a solution that does not harm our natural shield against the sun’s ultraviolet rays, thanks to which life in the surface of the planet is possible.
Otherwise, most living beings would disappear, including human beings.
Function and properties of ozone
People know about ozone mainly because they have talked about the benefits of the ozone layer and the danger that it decreases in thickness or there are areas of the atmosphere where it is absent.
If you want to know more about it you can visit the article: what is ozone?
Ozone is also used as a powerful disinfectant that destroys fungi, viruses and bacteria.
If you are interested in acquiring an ozone generator you can visit the following sections:
Domestic and professional ozone generators to keep your spaces free of pathogens.