Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Golden Age" for space robots

The destruction of a shuttle "Challenger" 20 years ago has put a hard blow on piloted astronautics and simultaneously was the beginning of "Golden Age" for space robots.

On the last Saturday NASA honor the memory of victims in 1986 of astronauts. Later 20 years after destruction of a shuttle contrast between piloted space missions and expeditions of automatic space vehicles become more and more appreciable, informs Physorg.
In the past the automatic space station "Cassini" has transmitted to year to the Earth pictures of Saturn, and a probe "Guegiens" has landed into the Titanium. Probe Stardust has collected substance of comet Wild and has delivered to the Earth a capsule with invaluable freight. Two mars rovers NASA - Spirit and Opportunity - research the Red planet. They are helped by automatic stations in an orbit of Mars. To Venus and Pluto space expeditions are sent, and the european space vehicle "Resette" makes dispositions for appointment to comet Churumova-Gerasimenko in 2014.

While robots and automatic vehicles bravely research space, astronauts remain on space "boondocks" from reasons of safety. " After destruction we have understood " Challenger ", space technologies are how much difficult and our dreams of an outer space exploration " are how much impudent, - doctor Roger Launius, managing faculty of history of space in Smitson institute speaks.

The future of the most arrogant piloted project - the International space station (MCS) - while is not clear. Manufacture of shuttles - transport shuttles on which its activity depends, - has not the best times. It is supposed, that the MCS becomes orbital shield mankinds and a scientific space platform. Its construction will manage approximately in $100 billion However quite it can appear, that the MCS so never and will not complete, and onboard it "not will lodge" anybody, except for members of the main crew.

The design of the space shuttles designed 30 years ago, has set of the lacks, to 14 astronauts cost to destruction on 114 expeditions. Shuttles for a long time have transformed to "kings of hangars ", where the army of engineers carefully studies their each detail before to take out the spacecraft on launch pad of space port. "Originally advertised as cheap vehicles of reusable use, shuttles manage NASA in $145 billion or approximately in $1,3 billion on flight ", - doctor Roger Pielke, director of the center of a science, technology and researches at university of Colorado makes comments. For the comparison, two mars rovers cost NASA approximately $900 million Calculated on activity within only 90 days, they here 2 years send pictures of a martian surface.

The problems connected with operation of shuttles, are so serious, that NASA is going to refuse completely by 2010 their use, having replaced on modern and more capacious version of module Apollo with the accelerating unit of the previous models of shuttles. After loss of "Colombia" in 2003 in a formation there were only 3 space shuttles, and for completion of construction of the MCS it is necessary to make 18 more starts. If shuttles will cease to deliver on a regular basis freights to the MCS, NASA will be compelled to suspend, and, probably, and to stop installation of scientific modules on the MCS made in the Europe and Japan, total cost from above $1.3 billion

Besides construction of the MCS, one more important event in piloted astronautics - start of the Chinese spacecraft "Chenjou-5" in 2003. Thus, China became the third power which has sent the person in space.

However all these projects cannot be considered innovative in any way and the investment of huge means demand. The Chinese project "Chengjou" - the renovated version of Soviet "Soyuz" - more likely a step back for 40 years.

The scientific results received during realization of piloted missions, are not comparable to expenses and risk. The european space agency (ESA), for example, allocates only the one eighth budget for piloted astronautics and is not going to build the piloted spacecraft, preferring to use Russian or American. The Lion's share of budget ESA leaves on creation and operation of launchers, rockets-carriers, scientific satellites or the space probes, making good profit. As Japan acts also.

Now NASA tries to restore the lost reputation in this area of an outer space exploration and actively advances projects of piloted flights. Negotiations with foreign partners on creation of base on moon by 2018 and under the project of landing of people to Mars are carried on. However because of growing problems in activity above the project of the MCS the future of these missions also while remains uncertain.

"Expedition to moon, certainly, represents for us large interest, but for the Europe travel to Mars more attractively from the scientific point of view ", - Mr. Jean-Jacque Fave, the geologist and the former astronaut managing a strategic department in the National center of space researches of France (CNES) makes comments.

But even in this case the success of martian piloted mission in the core will depend on the high-speed rockets, allowing to reduce time of overfly, and from robots which will help the person to carry out scientific researches.


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