SpaceX news: ‘Private enterprise will conquer the final frontier’ – claim
After four years of meticulous preparation, the SpaceX Demo-2 mission will this Wednesday – weather permitting – launch. Demo-2 is considered a historic occasion as almost a decade has passed since NASA astronauts launched into orbit on a US-built vehicle from America.
The SpaceX mission is therefore critical for NASA re-establishing direct access to the International Space Station (ISS) and beyond.
Private enterprise, not government funding, will conquer the final frontier
Professor Loizos Heracleous
Professor Loizos Heracleous, a NASA advisor and Warwick Business School space industry expert, believes today’s Demo-2 mission also has a wider significance for private enterprise’s role in the nascent space industry.
He said in a statement: “SpaceX has chosen a suitably historic launchpad for this historic mission with NASA.
“However, today’s space race is very different from when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
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“Private enterprises including SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic have all joined the Space Race thanks to the conviction and vision of individuals who are investing billions of pounds.
“Many space entrepreneurs grew up at a time when it seemed reasonable for boys to assume that manned flights to the moon and beyond would be routine by the 21st century.
“They feel cheated by the way things turned out. Now they wish to use their wealth to make space tourism viable while they are around to enjoy it.
“As a result, space exploration has become big business – commercial space activity is expected to double over the next decade.”
SpaceX, owned by controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk has already made history.
The last few years have seen SpaceX become the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a rocket.
Such reusable technology is increasingly considered critical for future missions, as it significantly slash the incredible costs involved, encouraging the development of commercial space transport.
And SpaceX was also the first private firm to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station as part of its collaboration with NASA to co-ordinate the delivery of crew and cargo.
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Professor Heracleous added: “There is no doubt the commercial sector is standing on the shoulders of giants.
“It owes a great debt to earlier state investment, which developed the technology and infrastructure.
“Yet, there is no substitute for the entrepreneurial spark, energy and ambition that drives these commercial space companies.
“It will ultimately lead to a multitude of space-related offerings that today seem like pipe dreams.
“Private enterprise, not government funding, will conquer the final frontier”.
How to live stream the SpaceX Demo-2 launch from the UK:
SpaceX coverage of the historic flight kick-off approximately four hours before launch.
UK viewers can enjoy all the action live as it unfolds here on Express.co.uk in the embedded video player above, via NASA and SpaceX.
All NASA launches are broadcast live on NASA TV – the US space agency’s round-the-clock educational broadcasting.
The Elon Musk-owned SpaceX will also broadcast the launch live online on its website and video streaming site YouTube.
SpaceX Demo-2 launch schedule:
-45:00: SpaceX launch director verifies go for fuel propellant.
-42:00: Crew access arm retracts.
-37:00: Dragon’s launch escape system is armed.
-35:00: RP-1 rocket grade kerosene loading begins.
-35:00: First stage liquid oxygen loading begins.
-16:00: Second stage liquid oxygen loading begins.
-07:00: Falcon 9 begins engine chill prior to launch.
-05:00: Dragon transitions to internal power.
-01:00: Command flight to begin final prelaunch checks.
-01:00: Propellant tank pressurisation to flight pressure begins.
-00:45: SpaceX launch director verifies go for launch.
-00:03: Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start.
-00:00: SpaceX Falcon 9 liftoff.
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