May a Dragon spacecraft fly people to the Moon? It’s difficult

Crew Dragon landing

Enlarge / Crew Dragon splashes down into the ocean on August 2. (credit score: Invoice Inglalls/NASA)

On a current Sunday afternoon, a black-and-white spacecraft raced by the ambiance, ionizing molecules, and making a plasma inferno. Amidst this fireball, two astronauts sheltered throughout the small haven of Dragonship Endeavour, as its carbon-based warmth defend crisped and flaked away.

After a number of torrid minutes, Endeavour shed most of its orbital velocity. Falling into the decrease ambiance, its parachutes deployed in a cautious sequence, and the spacecraft floated down from blue skies into blue seas. Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken had been protected. They had been house. For the primary time in 4.5 many years, astronauts returned from area and splashed down into the ocean, just like the Apollo-era heroes who walked throughout the Moon.

The touchdown got here as NASA, on the course of Vice President Mike Pence, is working urgently to return people to the Moon by 2024. This can be a herculean activity for the company’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, who’s balancing politics, funding, and technical hurdles to push NASA and its contractors ahead.

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