Since the spaceflights programs of the 1960’s, NASA has always headed the future plans of human curiosity in space, exploring the solar system, landing humans on the Moon and decade lasting rovers on Mars; now in 2014, NASA reveals the future plans for human spaceflights. These historical programs have granted America and humanity with unprecedented knowledge and technological capabilities, conquering the dreams of the earliest astronomers who looked to the night sky with wondrous eyes. In 2014, the ideologies of human spaceflight are now realities as NASA reveals the future vehicles and destinations of human spaceflight.
There has been a series of advances that have led NASA scientists to developing a web of resources contributing to the future of human spaceflight capabilities. The International Space Station (ISS), is the common outpost for NASA and its international team. Its function facilitates ground teams and flight crews that will supply, operate and launch a global fleet of supply vehicles. The international scientific community will use the ISS as a development facility with real-time communication networks, functioning as an international nucleus for the future of combined human spaceflight endeavors.
NASA has also announced the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the space vehicle that operated from 1981-2011. The spaceship was revered for harboring 7 orbiters, with a lift capacity to low-earth orbit of 28 metric tons. The ship will be replaced by new space launch systems, the Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), and the Orion Space launch system(SLS), that will harbor crews into space, sustain them for the duration of their space travel and safely shuttle astronauts with a reliable re-entry to Earth from deep space missions. The Orion SLS is over 367 feet long, the shuttle is designed to carry the cargo of the Orion MPCV that will allow astronauts to conduct expanded scientific experiments, carrying 130 metric tons of crew and cargo from Earth. The MPCV shuttle will be equipped with an emergency abort capability and will be capable of carrying 4 astronauts. The shuttles have their first unmanned launch scheduled in 2017.
NASA engineers are developing the technology necessary to allow humans to explore the solar system, sustaining their lives away from Earth for long periods of time. NASA is committed to In-Situ resourcing, meaning scientists are working towards spaceships that can harbor the local materials of space. As long distant spaceflights eliminate the possibility of Earth sending materials, it is essential that spacecraft become developed to farm extraterrestrial materials. The realities of long distant space travel has NASA engineers developing advanced space communication systems, advanced spacesuits and advanced in-space propulsion systems. With the goal being long distance travel, NASA has directed its efforts to protecting their astronauts from lethal harm, with radiation safe spacesuits, and communication systems that will process data at a reasonable speed. The current propulsion system of spaceships are too costly, heavy and can barely get a man to the moon, NASA is experimenting with solar electricity and nuclear thermal propulsion. NASA has also revealed the future plans for human-robot systems in spaceflights, as robots are more suitable for the harsh radiation conditions of space travel and can help free astronauts agendas doing the more repetitive time-consuming tasks.
NASA has admitted commercial space transportation will become a vital element to the future of human spaceflights. NASA has expanded its efforts within the aerospace private sector to stimulate and develop reliably safe and cost-effective spaceflight transits. The driving force behind NASA’s involvement with commercialized space flight, is so NASA could purchase these commercial services, after being approved by the government, to transport crew and cargo to the ISS. This innovative approach to working with private industries will allow NASA to direct its financial resources to other projects, while exchanging technological knowledge and expertise.
As NASA reveals more exciting plans for the future of human spaceflight, the international science community will continue to work together in the advancement of human spaceflights. Once only the artistic visions of writers Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke, space travel for human beings is a growing reality.
Editorial By Zane Foley