by Hans Izaak Kriek*
America has big plans for the future of space. President Trump recently announced this with great pride. America wants to remain the leader again in the latest developments in the field of further development and discovery of the universe.
A look at what’s to come as we continue to explore the vast expanse of the cosmos. It can be tough to keep up with everything humanity is sending skyward, so we created a list of 20 missions so you can mark your calendars for all the exciting moments in space travel, planetary research, and even colonization in the coming decade.
Space X To Launch Starlink Fleet
This will undoubtedly become one of the most-watched missions in the next decade as SpaceX plans to launch 12,000 communication satellites into Earth’s orbit in the next year. The plan has already ruffled feathers. Dark sky advocates are concerned the vast constellation of satellites could dampen our ability to peer out into the starry skies. Others have voiced concerns that the network could make Earth’s orbit too crowded, potentially leading to crashes and, eventually our inability to leave the planet. This is ambitious, to say the least. Even Musk admitted it during a Sept. 28 SpaceX event in which the company’s founder revealed his plan for the shiny new spacecraft. But still, he’s committed to sending an intrepid crew up into space within the next six months.
President Trump Space policy
NASA’s future will continue to be a story of human exploration, technology, and science. We will go back to the Moon to learn more about what it will take to support human exploration to Mars and beyond. We will continue to nurture the development of a vibrant low-Earth orbit economy that builds on the work done to date by the International Space Station. NASA engineers will develop new technologies to improve air transport at home and meet the challenges of advanced space exploration. Our scientists will work to increase an understanding of our planet and our place in the universe. We will continue to try to answer the question, “Are we alone?”
Unlike the way the space program started, NASA will not be racing a competitor. Rather, we will build upon the community of industrial, international, and academic partnerships forged for the space station. Commercial companies will play an increasing role in the space industry: launching rockets and satellites, transporting cargo and crew, building infrastructure in low-Earth orbit. NASA will continue to be a global leader in scientific discovery, fostering opportunities to turn new knowledge into things that improve life here on Earth.
In the half-century since people visited the Moon, NASA has continued to push the boundaries of knowledge to deliver on the promise of American ingenuity and leadership in space. And NASA will continue that work by moving forward to the Moon with astronauts landing on the lunar South Pole by 2024.
NASA is implementing the President’s Space Policy Directive-1 to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system.” NASA stands on the verge of commercializing low-Earth orbit.
These experiences and partnerships will enable NASA to go back to the Moon in 2024 – this time to stay. NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration is the biggest rocket ever built, the Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion spacecraft and the Gateway lunar command module. With its partners, NASA will use the Gateway lunar command module orbiting the Moon as a staging point for missions that allow astronauts to explore more parts of the lunar surface than ever before
NASA’s work in aeronautics has made decades of contributions to aviation, national security and our economy. Ongoing research and testing of new aeronautics technologies are critical in these areas and will help the U.S. lead the world in a global aviation economy, with increasing benefits worldwide. Developing quiet supersonic transport over land, and quieter, cleaner aircraft technologies are two ways NASA is transforming aviation.
Space exploration likely comes to mind when you think of NASA, but NASA’s work has many benefits that are closer to home for Earth and its citizens. Earth science research will continue, with new technologies that will help us understand Earth as a system and its responses to natural or human-induced changes. Scientists utilize satellites, airborne missions, and ground-based observations to gather data about the ongoing natural and man-made changes to Earth’s land, water, and air to help improve the quality of life around the world.
When NASA was created 60 years ago, it had to invent the technology to get where we needed to go, and we will continue to push the boundaries of technology into the future. New emerging technologies that open opportunities for research and exploration with minimal investments include NASA’s small satellites. Exploring deep space and three-year missions to Mars pose new challenges: Can you take enough? Can you grow it or make it in space? Can you do your own repairs and maintenance? As before, NASA will adapt solutions to these and other challenges into technologies that will improve life at home.
Nearly a half-century ago, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. NASA is now preparing for an ambitious new era of sustainable human spaceflight and discovery. The agency is building the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft for human deep space exploration. With the help of commercial and international partners, NASA will develop new opportunities in lunar orbit, including a platform to aid surface exploration and serve as a gateway to Mars.
The International Space Station will continue to serve as the world’s leading laboratory where researchers can conduct cutting-edge research and technology development to enable human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars. The space station will also facilitate the growth of additional privately owned spaceships for continued research and transportation in low-Earth orbit.
The agency is building the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft for human deep space exploration. With the help of commercial and international partners, NASA will develop new opportunities in lunar orbit, including a platform to aid surface exploration and serve as a gateway to Mars.
2024 crewed spacecraft to Mars
NASA will be returning to places previously explored with ambitious new missions and new technologies. Much remains to be learned about the Moon and how we might use its soils and other resources to support human habitation elsewhere. The complex journey to Mars is challenging NASA and its partners to figure out how to get there, land there, live there and get home. NASA will also be searching for clues of life throughout our solar system. Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, plans to launch an unpiloted mission in 2022 to ‘confirm water sources, identify hazards, and put in place initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure’.
In 2024, Musk wants SpaceX to send a crewed spacecraft to Mars with the primary objectives of "building a propellant depot and preparing for future crew flights," though SpaceX is quick to label these goals "aspirational."
*International political commentator for European Business Review and editor-in-chief of Kriek Media