Private space business beyond the Earth's orbit
Hopes for a first-ever funded by private funds moon landing collapsed last Thursday: Israeli spacecraft "Genesis" crashed during the final reduction. However, despite this disappointment, all talking about the beginning of a new stage of development of private space outside the Earth's orbit. At the head of the Israeli forces was a non-profit organization SpaceIL, which was created to participate in Google's competition for the 30 million Lunar XPRIZE - it is carried out to stimulate the private exploration of the Moon.
After prolonging the competition was closed without the announcement of the winners in January last year, but SpaceIL continued to carry out its mission independently.
Private companies want the moon
In the case of "Bereshitom" everything went smoothly until the main motor for the deceleration of the vehicle to reduce the soft landing, not out of order at the last minute. Communication has been lost and the lander is supposed to be wrecked, however, breaking milestone: it became the first private spacecraft that reached the moon's surface, even in parts.
Of course, it will not be the last of those. Former members XPRIZE - ispace, Astrobotic, PTScientists - all intend to visit the moon in the near future. Their long-term goals include creating a constant delivery service to the Moon and production of ice, which could provide water, oxygen or hydrogen fuel for other missions to deep into the solar system.
All this suggests that the private space industry is undergoing a major shift - for the most part, it was focused on the satellites; lately - at the output of the satellites in orbit, along with the emergence of companies like SpaceX. Collapsing LunarXPRIZE to many as the signal was received last year that the vision of the commercialization of space exploration was impractical and that we are far from a science-fiction representation of corporations, colonizing space, as in films like "Alien" and "Total Recall."
But just over a year, "Genesis" has proved that many of the doubters wrong. The mission was funded by the non-profit organization, but the fact that the cost of most of the projects under the leadership of the state is only 100 million dollars, can cause people to reconsider some assumptions on the economic viability of space exploration.
Admittedly, the final failure "Bereshita" underlines the risk of the selection of faster and cheaper mission. However, this did not prevent NASA selected nine companies that will compete for contracts to $ 2 billion, posting a small experiment on the moon within the next decade.
A series of new missions to asteroids can also be the beginning of a stormy development of asteroids. Japanese spacecraft "Hayabusa-2" released a few shells at Ryugu asteroid in order to understand what is below the surface, and plans to return samples to Earth by the end of next year.
The first American mission to collect and return samples to Earth asteroid - OSIRIS-REx - is currently exploring the surface of its target, the asteroid Bennu, and plans to return 60 grams of rocks on the planet at the end of 2023.
The success of these missions could be the key to the industry, which was in a difficult situation since NASA canceled plans to drag the asteroid closer to Earth and send an astronaut to collect samples. Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources were the two leading pioneers in this area, however, we are faced with hard times and were bought. And Planetary Resources bought the company from the area blokcheyn technologies. Part of the problem the majority of commercial space operations outside the orbit of the Earth is that they are highly dependent on the government. Most companies want to either conduct experiments or to supply resources - fuel and water - for more ambitious missions, but only customers of these services are currently the national space agencies.
That will change. SpaceX, which has grown rich on the first boom of commercial space, and now looks forward to the implementation of more ambitious projects in deep space. Although Mars colonization plans will certainly be taken with a grain of salt, the company is rapidly building infrastructure, making possible such missions.
Just last week, the company has successfully completed the first commercial launch of its Falcon Heavy Heavy rocket and successfully landed all three stages for re-use in future missions.
Currently, the commercial industry of deep space needed in an ecosystem that needs to support itself. Breakthroughs made "Bereshitom" and Falcon Heavy last week - it's the first encouraging signs that the private sector tends to beyond the orbit.
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