The Crew Dragon crew of the private space company SpaceX performed the first successful test flight to the International Space Station. But how do Roscosmos react to this, and will competition prevent the development of Russian cosmonautics?
Capsule that could
While Ilon Musk is developing projects to turn humanity into an interplanetary form, he manages to cope with current contracts. One of these is made with NASA. As part of the agreement, SpaceX was to develop a safe spacecraft that could deliver astronauts to the ISS and back from American territory.
This is an important project for the United States, which, after the cancellation of the shuttle program, was forced to buy expensive tickets for Russian Union capsules. Mask fulfilled the conditions and on March 2, 2019, the Crew Dragon launched in a test flight to the orbital station. It flew safely on March 3, and on the 8th it also splashed down successfully on Earth. This is the first flight, so only the Ripley mannequin was on board.
The second flight is scheduled for the summer of 2019. Here are going to send these astronauts. If everything goes without a hitch and problems, then Crew Dragon will be used on an ongoing basis. It is logical that this raises the question: “What about the Union?”.
Death for the Russian space program?
Many believe that this event can be called the cause of the future death of the Russian space program (yes, you can find many articles on the Internet in this vein). Due to the delivery of astronauts, Russia received a decent amount. If initially America paid $ 25 million per person, then in 2018 the price tag rose to $ 82 million per seat!
In fact, the United States is much more profitable to send astronauts from their native land, and SpaceX always guarantees much lower prices. Plus, the amount saved on the delivery of crew members from one country to another. And although NASA continues to assert that they will continue to use Union capsules anyway (Crew Dragon will simply increase the number of launches), it is difficult to predict the development of the situation.
What does Roscosmos say?
Surprisingly, the situation so far seems completely calm. Moreover, Ilon Musk quite recently praised Russia for the Angara rocket, which he called magnificent. And the director of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, congratulated Mask for the successful mission of Crew Dragon, for which he also received many pleasant words in response.
And in the Russian space agency itself, everything looks as if they are looking forward to American success. Experts claim that the Union capsules will not gather dust in the hangars. If American customers run out, there will be people from other countries. In addition, if it is profitable or if something happens to the Union, then Russian cosmonauts will be happy to use American transport.
Well, so far no panic is foreseen. However, it is worthwhile to reflect on the future development of the situation. Roscosmos insists that they are only happy about the appearance of a competitor. And this is really good, because the competition motivates to make the goods better and move forward.
However, on one side is Ilon Musk. This man wants to send people to Mars, so each time he makes trips to space more accessible and cheaper. On the other hand, Roskosmos, which for a long time was the only transporter on the ISS, therefore, could not change the technology and control the price (there was nothing more to fly because). It turns out that now Russia will have to seriously engage in space technology in order not to yield to America in price and quality. That's just the question: will they? What do you think?