Today, we will look at the most advanced new spacecraft designed to take humans and payloads into space for various purposes, including space exploration and space tourism.
#1: DREAM CHASER
Dream chaser is a reusable space vehicle designed and manufactured by Sierra Nevada Corporation to transport both humans and cargo to and from low earth orbit.
Dream chaser is vertically launched, and it can autonomously fly to space and horizontally land on ordinary runways. Its cargo version can carry up to 11-kilo pounds of cargo. And its crew version can carry two to seven astronauts at a time.
Its cargo version is designed to be reused more than 15 times to make it affordable. The crew version is designed to be reused for a minimum of 25 missions. In 2016 dream chaser was selected by NASA to provide cargo delivery return and disposal service for the international space station.
#2: FALCON 9
Falcon 9 is the world’s first reusable two-stage rocket, designed and manufactured by SpaceX, an American aerospace company founded by business magnate and industrial designer Elon Musk. In order to reduce space transportation costs, to enable humans to travel to Mars and colonize it, Elon decided to make reusable rockets capable of making multiple flights, unlike other rockets that could only fly once. After years of design development and revisions, the Falcon 9 was born.
Powered by 190-kilo pound-force merlin engines, this 229.6-foot-long rocket can carry 50265 pounds payload. But to go to mars, Elon thinks a much bigger rocket than this. So, he introduced ‘the Falcon Heavy,’ the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.
The falcon heavy is derived from the Falcon 9. it consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 first stage as the center core and two additional Falcon 9 like strap-on boosters. To test the vehicle’s capability, Elon decided to take the mars his own sports car, the tesla roadster, as a dummy payload carrying a dummy human dubbed star man. The launch was a success. The two additional reused rocket boosters came back and landed on earth. But the center core could not.
In the first commercial Falcon Heavy flight, all three booster rockets successfully returned to earth. Today, SpaceX has done a total of three heavy falcon launches with seven reflown rockets and performed four successful landings. The Falcon 9 has flown 92 times with 38 reflown rockets and has completed 53 landings.
#3: SPACEX CREW DRAGON
In the summer of 2020, this spacecraft became the first private spacecraft to take humans to space and successfully return them to earth. It is manufactured by SpaceX.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon is a reusable spacecraft capable of carrying seven passengers to and from earth orbit and beyond. Currently, it is the only operational spacecraft capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to earth. The vehicle’s current version is called SpaceX dragon 2, which comes in two variations; the true dragon and cargo dragon. An update of the original dragon spacecraft dragon one. Crew Dragon is autonomous. It can seek out the international space station dock with it undock and safely land. If that fails, its first backup will be mission controllers here on earth.
In 2014 SpaceX won a 2.6-billion-dollar contract from NASA to complete and certify the crew dragon, and in 2020 the vehicle was launched to space carrying two astronauts; Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, to the international space station. The astronauts can also take manual control and easily operate it as an iPad through its three large touch screens.
#4: BOEING STARLINER
Boeing Starliner is an autonomous reusable cruise space capsule developed by Boeing after winning a 4.2-billion-dollar contract from NASA. It is fully autonomous, like SpaceX Crew Dragon. Starliner can also seek out the international space station dock with it undock and then safely land, all without human intervention.
Boeing Starliner can land on solid ground using its innovative parachute and airbag system. This landing allows quicker access to crew and cargo and makes turning around capsules for other missions more efficient. The Boeing Starliner can carry up to seven people. And it is designed to remain in orbit for up to seven months, can be reused ten missions.
20th of December 2019, Boeing conducted the first uncrewed Starliner orbital flight test. But the spacecraft experienced a software error that prevented it from docking with the international space station. Months later, they said they had fixed the issues. The company plans to do a second unpiloted test flight by December 2020 or in early January 2021. they are setting the stage for the first Starliner demonstration mission with astronauts in mid-2021.
#5: STARSHIP SPACECRAFT
Starship Spacecraft is another SpaceX’s spacecraft. A massive spaceship and rocket system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the moon, Mars, and beyond. With its super-heavy rocket, the starship will be the world’s most powerful and fully reusable launch vehicle ever developed. The rocket will carry more than 220-kilo pounds to earth orbit, equivalent to 37 average standard trucks.
In 2023 SpaceX is expected to fly a starship around the moon with its first private passenger, Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire fashion innovator and art curator. This flight will help fund the development of starship. Its super-heavy rocket is an essential step in enabling access for everyday people who dream of flying to space and make humans interplanetary species.
#6: SPACESHIP TWO
Spaceship Two is a reusable air-launched suborbital spaceplane designed for space tourism. It can carry up to eight passengers into space safely and with high frequency.
The spacecraft is manufactured by Virgin Galactic, a company owned by Sir Richard Branson, an English business magnate and investor. Spaceship 2 is lifted by a quad jet cargo aircraft up to a release altitude. It is released to pass on into the upper atmosphere powered by its rocket engine. When coming back to earth, the spaceship performs a conventional runway landing.
Officially unveiled to the public in December 2009, virgin galactic has undergone two spaceflights for the spacecraft. It expects to fly its founder, Sir Richard Branson in the first quarter of 2021.
Virgin Galactic has been taking bookings for some time. More than 600 people, including Justin Bieber and Leonardo Dicaprio, have already paid 250 000 to reserve a seat. Apart from flying tourists, this 400 million spaceplane could also be used to carry scientific payloads for NASA and other organizations.
#7: SPACESHIP NEPTUNE
With the same ambitions as Virgin Galactic, a Florida company space perspective plans to fly up to eight people to the edge of space in its high-tech space balloon. Spaceship Neptune a balloon-borne pressurized capsule that can send tourists and research payloads to the stratosphere.
In the early 2021 space perspective expects to launch an uncrewed test flight that will carry research payloads. Then in a few years, if everything goes well, it’ll also fly space tourists on a six-hour sightseeing tour to the edge of space. The passengers will have a two-hour general ascent above 99 of the earth’s atmosphere to 100 000 feet, where the Neptune will cruise above the Earth for up to two hours. And then make a two-hour descent under the balloon and then splashes down. After that, a ship will retrieve the passengers, the capsule, and the balloon.
The capsule can be used again, but its 328 feet diameter balloon will be replaced after each mission.
#8: NEW SHEPARD
The New Shepard is a reusable sub-orbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the space boundary. The spacecraft is manufactured by blue origin, a company owned and led by amazon founder and businessman Jeff Bezos.
Atop a 60-foot tall rocket is a capsule designed to carry six people. However, the company hasn’t started flying people yet. It has used the spacecraft commercially to fly scientific payloads to space to conduct microgravity research and experiments for NASA, universities, and companies during its test. In 2015 after reaching 62.4 miles of outer space altitude, the rocket successfully performed a vertical soft landing. The first time a suborbital booster rocket had returned from space to make a successful vertical landing.
#9: NEW GLENN
Jeff Bezos’ blue origin also manufactured new Glenn. New Glenn is a single configuration heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of carrying people and payloads routinely to Earth orbit and beyond. Like the New Shepard, New Glenn is also meant to be reusable after each flight. Its seven-meter nose cone or payload fairing has two times the payload volume of any existing launch vehicle, which means it has more room for satellites and the freedom to build in more capacity.
The company initially intended for the first launch in 2020. But by 2018, the blue origin is expected to launch the vehicle in 2021. The company has also projected that in 2024 it will use the spacecraft to launch the blue moon, the company’s robotic space cargo carrier, and lander for making cargo deliveries to the moon.
Orion this spacecraft is a critical part of NASA’s 2024 Artemis program to build a sustainable presence on the moon. And prepare humans to move onto mars. The Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle Orion is NASA’s reusable spacecraft that will be used for human deep space flight programs.
The spacecraft consists of a crew module and the service module manufactured by Lockheed Martin and airbus defense and space. Orion is the only spacecraft in development with the technology needed for extreme deep space life support, navigation, communications, radiation, and heat shielding. As the prime contractor of building Orion, Lockheed Martin has finalized a contract for six Orion missions. It has delivered the first spacecraft, Artemis III, which will carry the first woman and the next man to the moon in 2024.
The pictures retrieved from …