Can the United States reproduce the manned moon landing within five years?
Earlier, the US "return to the moon" plan has been embarrassing during the three presidential terms of Bush, Obama and Trump. During the Bush period, the "Constellation" plan was proposed, instructing the military giants such as Boeing to develop the moon rocket that was code-named "God of War." However, the "Constellation" plan development budget was significantly overrun and progress was postponed, and it was terminated by the Obama period. Obama, on the other hand, has targeted the deep space exploration of the United States in one step and directly locked it on Mars.
When he was at Trump, the scientific goal of the US manned deep space exploration returned to the version of the "Constellation" plan, which was to go to the moon and then to Mars in two steps. Because, from an engineering point of view, it is too difficult to skip the moon and land directly on Mars. But the Trump version of the return to the moon program is quite different from Bush’s "constellation" plan, which is: it will break the iron rice bowl of traditional contractors including Boeing, allowing new private contracting Join the business.
An important reason for Obama’s abolition of the “Constellation” plan was that the budget was greatly overrun. Since the sole contractor of the program, Boeing, had no competitors, the "Constellation" plan was once smashed into "American-style big pot rice." In the game with the main contractor Boeing, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has no bargaining space and can only accept additional budgets proposed by Boeing for various reasons. The manufacture of rockets is a huge system project, which requires a large number of upstream manufacturers to supply various parts and subsystems. These manufacturers also follow Boeing's meal in the US moon landing program. For this reason, Obama finally decided to end this bottomless general "constellation" plan.
At the same time, Obama took another major reform of the US space industry during his tenure, allowing private companies to contract NASA and military launch missions as service providers. This has had a major impact on the US space industry, enabling emerging space companies like space exploration to enter the US aerospace industry, which was traditionally held by traditional contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
After receiving a large order from NASA, Space Exploration Corporation quickly became a newcomer to the aerospace industry, which accounted for one-third of the international commercial space launch market. In addition to allowing the launch vehicle to automatically return from space and reuse it, it also developed a new generation of spacecraft with a manned capacity - the dragon spacecraft.
In March of this year, the Dragon Spacecraft realized the first unmanned launch and docked with the International Space Station, and then returned to Earth safely. This not only enabled the United States to regain its ability to manned space, but also made NASA more emboldened when it played against old military giants such as Boeing.
Burns announced that the United States will land on the moon within five years, just after the dragon ship successfully returned to Earth. What is worth pondering is that in the NSC speech, Burns also made a stern warning to Boeing without name and ultimatum. The background is: After Obama’s inauguration of the “Constellation” plan, he instructed the Boeing-led military interest group to develop a heavy-duty rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) for future landings on Mars and manned space exploration missions. . However, Boeing once again exerted a “drag and drop” on the R&D of SLS rockets. The rocket that originally planned to fly in 2017 has not even had a shadow. It still receives at least US$3 billion in research and development budget from the US government every year.
In this regard, Burns said that “the government will consider all launch plans and will not commit to any contractor. If our current contractor cannot achieve this goal, then we will find a contractor that can achieve this goal.” It is a new American space company that hints at the rise.
It is noteworthy that the Space Exploration Company's "Heavy Falcon" carrier rocket launched its first commercial launch on Saturday (13th), successfully bringing a Saudi communications satellite into orbit. The rocket surpassed Boeing's products and became the most powerful heavy-duty rocket in the world. However, the "heavy falcon" is much worse than the SLS that Boeing is developing, and it only has the possibility of replacing Boeing products in reality. Therefore, the US government still hopes that Boeing will complete the mission of landing on the moon.
The true intention of Burns’s arrogance is to beat Boeing and force the contractor to set a timetable by setting a “back wall” for the “5-year moon landing” project, with a view to implementing the manned moon landing plan as early as possible. What needs to be seen is that with the addition of fresh blood like Space Exploration, the ecology of the US space industry has changed a lot since the Bush and Obama eras. From this perspective, the US "5-year landing on the moon" plan has a certain realistic foundation.