NASA announced new plans for the Artemis program, the first flight to the Silver Globe in the 21st century and the construction of bases there. The agency wants to implement a very interesting idea that appeared decades ago, but now it will finally become reality. Well, it's about the technology of refueling rockets in space.
The goal here is to significantly reduce the cost of the mission not only related to the best web guides to the Moon, but also the construction of the Lunar Space Port and preparations for the first flight to Mars. The contract for $ 53 million has just been awarded to SpaceX. Its task will be to develop the appropriate technology and demonstrate it in space conditions.
The experiment will be conducted in 2021 or 2022 and will use a powerful new space transportation system that is currently under construction at the SpaceX facility in Texas. We are talking about the SuperHeavy rocket and the Starship ship.
Elon Musk's company is to transfer approx. 10 tons of cryogenic liquid. During the demonstration of the technology, only one copy of the Starship will be used, but ultimately the refueling of ships will take place between two vehicles. SpaceX reported some time ago that Starshipy will run with equipment and supplies for astronauts between the Earth's orbit and the Moon.
Space fuel stations will save money and, above all, time, and thus speed up the implementation of tasks. And there are a lot of them, because NASA intends to build the first base and several mines on the surface of the moon in the 1920s in order to implement the plans of space mining.
SpaceX has already installed 3 powerful Raptor engines in another Starship prototype. A flight of more than 20 kilometers may occur this or next month. Starship is to be operational as early as next year, and then its maiden flight will take place.
Interestingly, a contract related to space gas stations was also awarded to a virtually unknown company, Eta Space. The technology she is developing is to store liquid hydrogen in space for almost a year. The company is to test the system next year. The information revealed that the engineers will use the Electron rocket from Rocket Lab.