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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Trump will go into deep space in the footsteps of “Apollo”

Space exploration is almost the only task for which Donald trump now is not just a set of slogans, but concrete program of action, and extremely ambitious. What “trump plan” differs from the “Obama plan” and will he be able to open a new page in the cooperation in space between Russia and the United States?

Critics of Donald trump has said repeatedly that he does not have a clear program of reforms that he intends to make. He, they argue, only passionate slogans designed to appeal to the “burning” in the hearts of Americans, but not a specific strategy for solving problems. However, the American online Mother Jones believes that the depth of elaboration and detail space plan trump is no exception. You can also add that the degree of ambition of this plan it is proportionate extent of this exclusivity.

To make it to Europe

“Now we have more serious problems, you know? Need to patch holes in the “pavement”

Now, trump believes that the space program of America meets at best the level of third world countries. “I will free NASA from the shackles that force him to deal with the logistics to ensure the near-earth activities, – he said shortly before the election. – The Agency must engage in the study of the cosmos.” It is also quite common words, but on the eve of election day, trump hired famous space expert to develop its space policy. However, to call this man an expert just means to downplay the extent of his qualifications in the field of Astronautics. We are talking about Republican Robert Walker, who in 1990-e years headed the U.S. Congress Committee on science, space and technology. It was the Walker and developed a space plan, under which “signed” the tramp.

A key part of this plan is the idea that NASA should focus on deep space exploration, which starts outside the lunar orbit. The entire earth should be give to “mercy” to other agencies as well as private companies, which will cope better with this work.

The Mars in the cosmic plan of trump is not the main but only an intermediate goal. The red planet, as suggested by Walker, it is too “limited” goal, which in certain financing can, in principle, be achieved using the same technology that was used in the “Apollo” and “Space Shuttle”. Thus, if you take a strategic course to Mars, the space program will lose one of the main factors justifying its existence – namely, to create a fundamentally new technology, which will provide indisputable the competitiveness of America in the twenty-first century and beyond. Therefore, the plan puts trump in as a strategic objective of manned exploration and development of the Solar system by the end of this century.

Robert Walker (фото:congress.gov/wikipedia.org)

“If you think what technology can achieve in the outskirts of the Solar system, you may have to consider plasma engines, nuclear propulsion and, of course, solar sail,” –said Walker. Based on the task to maximally stimulate a national science and technology in General, NASA in the foreseeable future, according to former Congressman, should be the focus at least to Jupiter’s moon Europe. The basis for the implementation of this vision should be a partnership between the state and private business, which, according to the plan of trump – Walker must be carried out in the framework of the ISS program. The chosen one will presidentschoice that “the United States, working together with the international community, must find new participants for this project and make the station only partially government complex, the operation of which will be funded by international partners and maintained with the use of services provided on a commercial basis”.

First unscientific

Like a cosmic “passionarnost” the newly elected President is not quite consistent with his existing image of a pragmatic person, not too keen on romance of discovering new knowledge – or, at least, does not consider that open data is worth spending money. So many people think the representatives of the academic community of the United States.

“Trump will be the first anti-science President in U.S. history, says Michael Lubell, Director of public relations of the American physical society. – The consequences would be very, very difficult.” “There is concern that the research infrastructure of the United States will be brought to its knees” – echoes Robert bell, a geophysicist and the newly elected President of the American geophysical Union. The engineers and scientists working in the space program of the United States, too, there was little reason for optimism. In November last year, responding to a question about boy of ten, NASA, trump responded that “likes” this Department and that the space – “this is amazing”, but added: “Now we have more serious problems, you know? Need to patch holes in the “pavement”.

Indeed, trump is hardly representative of the interests of the American academic environment. But let us remember that the lunar program “Apollo” – one of the most ambitious and advanced space projects in the history of space exploration was conceived by President John F. Kennedy for reasons not related to gaining new knowledge. The main task which was put by Kennedy, initiating “Apollo”, was restoring the authority and prestige of the United States within the country and in the world, undermined the Soviet space successes and near failures of American foreign policy. The motive is very in tune with trunovskogo “let’s Make America great again!”. By the way, pronounced political background, “Apollo” was the reason for harsh criticism of this project, some prominent representatives of the scientific environment of the United States, who believed that for the price of manned missions to the moon, you can carry out ten times more where less expensive auto research missions.

However, in addition to the desire to return America to its former greatness with the help of a breakthrough space project, there is another explanation for the ambitious space visions of the trump. About a month before the election, the newspaper Space News asked him and Hillary Clinton a series of questions regarding their plans in the field of space activities. While Clinton gave a detailed and apparently well-prepared answers, trump has answered quite colourless and sweet, limited only by the expression of enthusiasm for the research and space exploration. After the interview was published, trump felt humiliated. To mitigate the unfavorable impression he has instructed the Walker to prepare a space strategy that would dwarf not just what Clinton said, but Obama’s plan to reach Mars late next decade.

Honeymoon in question

The main issue of concern to Russian space community in connection with the election trump – how to develop with it cooperation between Russia and the United States outside the atmosphere? Trump has repeatedly stated its desire to improve relations with Russia, but whether this relationship is the same “honeymoon” that was between them in the first half of 1990-ies and which contributed to the beginning of large-scale cooperation between the two countries in the framework of the ISS project? According to experts from the United States, “American presidents imposed a serious internal limitations.”

“Americans who voted for trump did not vote for the improvement of Russian-American relations,” emphasizes, for example, the Washington Post. This is not to mention the fact that the newly elected President, known for his volatile nature, may change his intention to “build bridges” with Russia on the opposite. So the “honeymoon” in question.

As for pragmatism, which could lead trump to share the efforts and costs with Russia for the preparation of missions in deep space, then with high probability the Walker will tell him so just the opposite, for, according to the American congressmen, who worked on Capitol hill in the 1990-ies, the cooperation with Moscow because of the constant delays in the implementation of the obligations of the Russian side of the station led to the rise in the cost of construction of the ISS. Argument of type “Russia has the world’s most trusted the Soyuz spacecraft that NASA or at least be able to use” will not make such impression, 20 years ago, because in the beginning of the next decade, the US must be at least three new types of manned spacecraft. Besides pragmatism trump can contribute to the beginning of real cooperation in space with China, which has something to offer America.

Unfortunately, Russia, the space industry which, in recognition of the Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, behind American nine times until you can offer US almost nothing outside already submitted in the framework of the ISS project expertise and technologies for near-earth activities. Some exceptions to this rule was the recent agreement of the Russian space Agency with NASA on a five-year program of ground isolation for training of crews of astronauts for future missions to other planets. Such training and research, including the MARS-500 held in Russia since the beginning of 1960-ies, and our country’s experience in this area can really be of interest to US, aimed, as already mentioned, in deep space.

What is behind cosmic ambitions trump’s campaign rhetoric or a firm commitment, time will tell, but one thing is not in doubt. The strategic course of America to ensure their competitiveness and credibility in the world due to the science and technology of stimulation which is extremely essential space, will remain unchanged.


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