Some four years from now loosely known as gateway nasa and a few of its centers have been floating the concept for years partially in its merits as a potential platform to dip toes into crude deep space flight and explore the moon, but mostly as a way to Give the bloated space launch system sls rocket and orion spacecraft a destination for destination’s sake, weighed down by an extremely inefficient european service module esm nasa couldn’t use orion to replicate its famous apollo moon missions if it wanted to lacking the necessary performance to safely place. Orion and its astronauts into the low lunar orbit llo optimal for a new round of crude moon landings. Orion esm on its own is limited to higher more exotic, lunar orbits, with less immediate value. As a result, nasa’s lunar gateway will be delivered to a near rectilinear. Halo orbit nrho, where it will orbit the moon’s poles at altitudes between 3070 thousand kilometers bureaucratic machinations and sunk cost fallacies aside any space station orbiting. The moon would be an impressive technical feat in an undoubtedly exciting venture nasa says: spacex’s, combined power and propulsion element and habitation and logistics outpost, ppe, halo, falcon heavy launch contract will ultimately cost approximately 332 million dollars, although that figure includes vague other mission related costs. That could have nothing to do with spacex and be separate from the company’s actual launch services, possibly contributing to the unusually high cost is the fact that falcon heavy will need a stretched.

Payload spacex is already working on for the us military to launch the massive ppe halo stack, which will stand around 15 meters 50 feet tall and weigh approximately 14 metric tons. Approximately 31 000 pounds when combined while heavy that payload mass is somewhat mundane for spacex, which has launched 17 16 metric ton batches of starlink satellites since november 2019. What isn’t mundane for spacex is launching such a large payload beyond starlink’s low earth orbit leo destination. According to a virtual presentation recently, given by a northrop grumman halo engineer, ppe halo will be delivered to an elliptical orbit similar but lower than thegeostationary transfer orbit gto approximately 250 kilometers by approximately 36 000 kilometers traditional for commercial communications satellites that low target orbit, thankfully means That ppe, halo won’t be spacex’s first fully expendable falcon heavy launch, depending on how far below gto nasa is willing to accept. Spacex could potentially launch ppe halo and attempt to land all three first boosters at sea, a configuration that leaves enough performance to send 10 metric tons to gto if spacex proposed falcon heavy with an expendable center core. The rocket could feasibly launch ppe halo beyond gto cutting the amount of time it would take for ppe to slowly spiral out to the moon with its electric thrusters nasa says the launch is scheduled no earlier than net mate 2024 decidedly optimistic. Given that the space agency has yet to even award halo’s production contract, the united arab emirates made history tuesday, the 9th of february, as they became the first arab nation, and only the second nation in history to succeed in placing a spacecraft into martian orbit on their Very first attempt the alamo probe, which translates to hope in english, began its 27 minute mars orbit insertion burn at 1530 coordinated universal time, 10, 30 eastern time in the united states.

The burn placed the craft into an initial 40 hour 1000 by 49 380 kilometers capture orbit of the red planet. Alamo’S 27 minutes of nail biting deceleration. Much has been made of the seven minutes of terror when a spacecraft plunges into the martian atmosphere in a completely automated sequence that results in the craft either reaching the planet’s surface successfully or crash landing minutes before confirmation of what has happened reaches earth. But for the teams operating the emirati mars mission, it wasn’t seven minutes of terror. It was 27 minutes of terror. The entire time during which alamal’s six 120 newton thrusters fired to reduce the spacecraft’s relative velocity to mars by approximately 1000 meters per second, and just like the seven minutes of terror entry and landing sequence. This 27 minute orbit insertion process for alamo was completely automated what’s. More given the approximately 190 million kilometer distance separating earth from mars, signaled that the mars orbit insertion burn had begun on time took approximately 11 minutes to transit the distance and be received during the entire orbit insertion process. The mission control team at themohammed bin rashid space center was in monitor mode unable to intervene or take control. If the data indicated something had gone wrong. Signals from the probe were received through nasa’s, deep space network. The madrid site in spain, including its brand new dish, took up the mantle for primary communications with the craft nasa’s maven spacecraft also serves as a communications relay for alamo, as teams now work to confirm the orbit.

The probe inserts itself into, as well as its overall health and initial science checkouts, but those 27 minutes of engine firing were crucial.