2016 could prove to be the year in which space exploration takes the headlines.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Technology has played an important part at the beginning of this new year due to the various progress that CES unveiled, but looking ahead, 2016 could be the year of NASA. The space programme has a lot of novelty launches and projects in store for this year.
In 2016, NASA has a very busy schedule. The timetable is filled with navigation, research satellites and communication launches, a great deal of “commercial flights” that are meant to resupply the space stations and other inciting projects, such as sending a team of astronauts to a lower-Earth orbit.
It’s not the Kessel Run, but a trip to the space station and back carrying supplies for the crew that works on them is pretty hard to plan and manage. This year, the Space Program plans on making no less than 5 of this runs. This alone could be translated into a very busy schedule.
Another project, this time in collaboration with the new technological boy-wonder, Elon Musk, founder of the SpaceX programme, is designed to send a spacecraft, named Dragon, to the International Station. This comes after the failure of the Dragon CRS-7, and the returning of the Falcon 9 to be serviced on Earth.
This May 5th, NASA is also planning a launch from the Virginia Flight Facility, the location of the Regional Spaceport of the Mid-Atlantic. The launch in question will be that of the rocket Antares which has been upgraded. The Cygnus rocket will accompany the Antares.
Because of the tight schedule, one of the launching sites that belong to NASA was leased Elon Musk’s SpaceX. They plan on using it for the new Falcon 9 that could be ready as soon as this May. The Falcon has a very great importance to Musk’s company because, in the case of a success, the amount of payload that SpaceX can lift will raise exponentially.
Apart from the novelty of the Falcon 9, the fact that Musk will launch his rocket from a NASA-owned launching site is also a new entry in the history books.
Another big name that associated itself with NASA and will have to jump through hoops this year to prove it is ready for a space departure in the following year is Boeing. The company has developed the Starliner. Tests will take place this summer. The Starliner project is similar to that of the Falcon 9.
All in all, it shall be a busy year for NASA. The Space Program will have an impressive number of its own missions to carry out, and will also be responsible with the monitoring of its associates, Boeing and SpaceX.
Image source: www.wikipedia.org