The only project payback which from the beginning was a big question, was the manned flight to Mars. Make money by sending groups of people at one end can only media giants, covering the training of the crew, the construction of the ship and start the journey to the red planet.
Other beneficiaries from the Mars mission is not, and likely will not – on the surface of the planet, fly to where you need a little less than a year, there is a large amount of rare earth metals and other critical for the inhabitants of the Earth elements. Trying to survive on a hostile in all respects the planet is of a purely scientific nature, and most likely, for a project of this magnitude will take only when will and desire, and dozens of “extra” billion dollars.
On the flights to the ISS specialists from SpaceX earn for a long time – space truck Dragon started to use more often instead of the Russian ships of the same class, and following an ambitious project to create a lunar orbiting station Deep Space or Lunar Orbital Gateway Platform will be built based on the main technological solutions of the company Spacex, the rocket, the Falcon Heavy and the BFR.
In addition to purely ideological component, including world demonstration of technological superiority, the new lunar program is a commercial component. Over the past few years a number of companies have noted statements that the extraction of minerals, including the rare isotope helium-3 from lunar soil, could become a “space fever”, and the one who first gets to the moon, gather soil, will rework him and bring him back to Earth will win and turn into an energy monopoly on a planetary scale.
The chief military order
The fulfillment of defense contracts U.S. Department of defense allowed to make large and relatively honest money hundreds of American companies. But most of all in strengthening national security on land, in the air, at sea and in space excelled by only two companies – Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which have tens of billions of dollars allocated by the Pentagon to create the defense advanced projects.
In addition to working in the traditional sectors of the defense industry, the two largest defense contractor the United States has successfully mastered one of the most profitable areas of the military industry and space launches. The huge military budget of the United States, exceeding the GDP of some large States, allowed Lockheed Martin and Boeing to start to dictate terms to the military. Long time aerospace giants competing with each other for the right to work with the military, but in 2006 in order to make the work without competition was founded by the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which became a key operator launches family of Atlas and Delta.
The aerospace giant is much faster than the operating profit of any aerospace company in the US and employs 10 000 people, including private developers and programmers that improve system management and space hardware, allows you to quickly solve almost any problem. However, the cost of services, which experts ULA was assisted by the military, became the highest in the history of the US military industrial complex.
The us military was working with ULA on a strictly specified pattern: in the morning money in the evening triggers. The success of a payload into orbit operators from ULA almost didn’t care – for every conclusion of a military satellite into orbit, the us military paid in advance and a lot. However, in 2014 the audit chamber of the USA published a document in which doubt was placed the Holy of holies of the American military-industrial complex – the transparency of price formation for space launches and military space products as such.
According to the outcome document to the relevant committees of the air force, to 2020, Lockheed Martin and Boeing planned to “turn up” the price for each space launch to monstrous $422 million Broke out a terrible scandal, which is like a bolt from the blue appears Elon Musk, who offered to launch military satellites “only” $55-60 million with the use of the Falcon 9 rocket.
It should be noted that the launch of the new heavy rocket, the Falcon Heavy is likely to have taken place solely in the interests of the military – a clear demonstration of functional and ready for immediate use missiles, able to output to a geosynchronous transfer orbit nearly 27 tons of payload, proved the viability of the Mask as a General contractor once and for all. The us military said, as some us media, the children were happy – even taking into account the likely double the cost, start to Faclon Heavy rockets Elon musk still appeared in 3,5 times cheaper than Delta and Atlas rockets that actually “killed” the ULA monopoly on space launches.
The new “Star wars”
Critics of Elon musk and his space creation has always believed that impossible (at least another 30-50 years) project of a manned flight to Mars and the desire as soon as possible to go to the moon is just a marketing ploy, the flamboyant billionaire who is accustomed to raise the hype around its own projects. In contrast to this view were supporters of SpaceX, rightly pointed out that the rocket return to the first step almost a revolution in space technology, and called Elon musk the genius of modern Astronautics. Undoubtedly, the SpaceX founder is a talent businessman and was able to bring technology the use of reusable upper stages to commercial efficiency, but Mars, the Moon and other major research projects Elon musk was not interested and not interested. And here’s why.
On the eve of a new arms race and a new battle for space the cost of developing unique equipment became one of the main factors in the success of ideas. In addition to the first ideas on the militarization of outer space by the us military are already known and some of the figures – the deployment of the U.S. Space corps will cost the Pentagon $13 billion, and there is no guarantee that this amount will grow significantly by the time the practical implementation of the plan. Exactly at that moment in the arena appears the company Ilona Mask. Chief operating officer of the company Gwen Shotwell said that SpaceX is ready to participate in the placement of weapons in outer space, if necessary to protect the United States.
To participate in the new “star wars” adjusted for promising military technology company SpaceX came fully armed – while the main competitors of the company roared with laughter and pointed a finger at the arrogant immigrant, who wanted to explore space with rockets from the foil and makeshift motors, Elon Musk is not only able to develop technology to reduce the cost of space launches, but in practice has implemented the first rule of sales is to identify and meet the needs of the client.
Skeptics piously believed that SpaceX will fail and not be able to meet the needs of the military, is likely to greatly upset – only for half of 2018 reusable Falcon 9 flew into space 15 times, so the increase in the number of launches with a stable funding from the Pentagon for the company Ilona Mask no problem. Without a doubt, Elon Musk did the impossible – was pushed aside and forced to “roll back and go to die” the two largest military-industrial companies.
These results are neither American nor any other companies has not been achieved for all time of existence of the US military industrial complex and space programs as such. Only the flights to Mars and the exploration of other worlds, of which Elon Musk is constantly told (and tell) on a press-conferences and TV shows ever in the area, the business interests of talented adventurer was not included. These projects fulfilled a single task – playing the role of the screen, where SpaceX makes history at the expense of military technology.