Dmitry Oliferovich - scientific journalist, cosmonautics popularizer, member of the youth section of the Federation
Where there is development
“Why didn’t anything happen for almost 50 years after Apollo, but now everyone wants to go to the Moon again?”
- The Apollo program had a clear politicalthe goal is to be the first to bring an American to the surface of the moon and bring him back to Earth. This goal was voiced in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. And, strictly speaking, he set the deadline - until the end of the 60s, before the decade is out - until the decade ends. And NASA just crashed into a cake in order to have time to meet those deadlines. We had problems with the H-1 rocket, but they did. We had a disaster with the launch vehicle. As a result, we redirected the manned cosmonautics to orbital stations - first “Salyut”, then “Mir” station. And now the grandson or granddaughter of the Salyut station is the ISS. And the near-moon station Gateway (Lunar orbital platform-gateway, LOP-G, formerly called Deep Space Gateway - "High-tech") will also be a direct descendant of the first orbital stations.
And the Americans fulfilled this goal. They worked the remaining iron - six times sat on the moon. After that, the Apollo program lost its meaning and the Congress stopped allocating funds for it.
- Then it was, after all, an ideological confrontation, and at some point it stopped. Now the lunar programs are back because a new cold war is starting in the world?
- I see several reasons why everything suddenlyinterested in the moon. First, at some point, NASA realized that there is a spacecraft. It was designed for the Bush Bush Constellation program, which was approved in 2004, and then Obama canceled it. And the ship was out of work. And they are pretty far advanced in the development of the ship: the drop-tests of parachute systems were conducted, the launch vehicle developed - albeit different, Ares V. There was already a system, but there was no goal.
ISS will exhaust its resource by the end of the 2020s, physically it is simply old, it has been flying since 1998, the oldest modules. And astronautics sat up in low Earth orbit. There is simply no development.
- But it took 48 years to figure it out?
- Yes, no matter how funny and sad it is at the same time.It sounds so. Because after the Apollo program, back in 1972, the Americans flew to the moon, they approved the Space Shuttle and got stuck in it. This program was originally conceived for the delivery and maintenance of military satellites in conjunction with the US Department of Defense. But it turned out that the military didn’t need a space shuttle, then there was a Challenger disaster, and the programs of its orbiting stations in the 1980s did not exist. There was one of its own Skylab orbital station, in fact, on the remnants of the Apollo. They worked on it - that's all.
Skylab - from English Skylab, sky laboratory, "sky laboratory" - the first and only national orbital station of the United States, designed for technological, astrophysical, biomedical research, as well as for observing the Earth. It was launched in 1973, took three expeditions on the Apollo ships from May 1973 to February 1974, descended from orbit and collapsed on July 11, 1979.
Who does not let China to the moon
- Gateway is currently building quite a few countries -The United States, the European Space Agency, Canada is doing something, Roscosmos may do. Is this an international project where everyone collaborates, or is there again an ideological standoff, if we talk about China?
- The rhetoric is such that it is not a confrontation, buton the contrary, cooperation. Because, despite certain disagreements between the countries, we are ready to create a joint manned project together, since productive cooperation continues now on the ISS. Because we simply cannot without them, they cannot without us. The ISS must be operated by all member countries so that all systems work.
- But China is not taken there.
“They don’t take him because the US government does not allow China to use rocket and space technologies.” This is a confrontation between America and China.
- So the next stage of the cosmos is the confrontation between America and China? And will everyone else join one of them?
- It's not all simple, because recently Chinaannounced the creation of its usual orbital station, which will be in low earth orbit. And at the UN level, they announced that the new orbital station is open for experiments by participants from other countries, other countries can send their scientific instruments there, they can train their astronauts together with the taikonaut, international crews will be formed. China declared such rhetoric.
It is impossible to say exactly what it will be forconfrontation. This rivalry may be hidden. Indeed, the Americans do not want China to be the first to reach the moon again. But China is unlikely to be the first to reach the moon, because the date declared by the Chinese themselves is likely to be sent to the moon by the Taikonaut after 2030. The first crews to the station Gateway should fly in the years 2023-2024.
- In the crew will be four people?
- Four people will go to the moon.
- And how will they be formed - two are chosen by the USA, one by ESA?
- The first test flight of the ship "Orion" withthe crew - EM2, Exploration Mission 2 - is likely to be purely American, because their equipment is there. Although, strictly speaking, the European Agency has built a service module, they have the right to send their astronaut. But so far there have been no publications on this subject, so I will be careful. Maybe one European representative will fly. It may well be. To monitor the service module systems for monitoring.
- Russia announced the construction of a base on the surface of the moon. At the moment - is it more words? Can this be seriously discussed already?
- While we can not talk about it seriously,because there are no specific technical specifications for the creation of elements. That is, until we create a lunar ship, the Federation, lunar in the sense that it can fly both on the ISS, with the upper stage, and to the Moon.
Here are the plans: the international community wants to send a manned expedition to Mars. These are plans, to which even hoo, as they say, but these are plans, which are likely to be implemented, because there is a great interest of the international community, this topic is being discussed, and we, journalists, including it are promoting. But so far, for example, for example, there is no module layout for the crew, for the migratory ship, the creation in iron of specific elements of the propulsion system for their testing. But for Gateway it already is. For it, for example, poster models of Hall motors are being worked out and built. That is, Gateway is beginning to slowly move from slideware to hardware - from slides to hardware. And flights to Mars and the base on the surface are still slides.
- About the possible contribution of Roskosmos to the Gateway. How serious is this part of building a station?
- It will be an important contribution, because any contributionIn the creation of any element of the station is critical, without it the station can not be. It will be created very economically. Perhaps, our contribution will be the airlock module, in which special space suits for going into outer space will be stored. So it was called earlier, now it is called a multi-purpose module. In deep space, they are protected in a special way, they differ from those in which they leave the ISS. This is a very important element. Not so long ago, there was a statement by the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, that Russia is even ready to provide transportation of goods, to create transport systems based on Progress. That is, such news flash, but what exactly do we have to wait now? We have to wait for the meeting of the space agency Lunar Gateway contact group meeting, where we can confirm our participation. Because we only have a memorandum of understanding on the creation of the Gateway station, signed in 2017 by Roskosmos and NASA at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide (Australia) and, accordingly, by the leadership of NASA. He is - this means that conditionally we agreed with you, we are looking in one direction and signed an informal paper - let's. That's when they sit down and sign, they will begin to distribute technical specifications for the creation of a lock or other modules - then we will have a real development of the project, that is, our contribution. For now, just waiting for the news, but I think there are chances that we will participate, because this is a very real contribution for us to manned flights into deep space. And we were invited, because there is the necessary expertise - a tremendous experience in creating gateway systems. A gateway is a small module through which you go into outer space. There are a lot of unique solutions there, and we have more experience here than the Americans, since we have many years of experience in creating and operating orbital stations.