Gonzalo López SánchezSEGUIRMadrid Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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The January 16, 2003 a piece of foam was cut short the american dream of dominating space with a fleet of space shuttles. At full take-off a piece of insulation hit the wing of the shuttle “Columbia”, creating a sizable hole that caused the destruction of the ship and the death of its seven crew members when he returned to the Ground, the 23 of February. This tragedy and the high costs of the missions that NASA end the shuttle programme July 21, 2011, with the last flight of the “Atlantis” .

Since then, the all-powerful space agency has been relying on the Russian ships “Soyuz” to put in orbit for its astronauts. But after years of effort, and several delays caused by the pandemic COVID-19, this Wednesday, NASA intends to launch the first manned space flight with destiny to the International Space Station in almost a decade.

astronauts Robert Behnken (49) and Douglas Hurley (53), the crew of the last flight of “Atlantis”, glued to the 16.32 local time (22.32 uk time) tomorrow, a rocket reusable “Falcon 9”, of the company SpaceX , and on board of the capsule “Crew Dragon”. For the first time since 2011, american astronauts take off from american soil and not from the Baikonur cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, to make a orbital flight.

Capsule tripulable “Crew Dragon” in the traveling astronauts – AFPBajo the look of Trump

The mission, which has received the name of “Demo-2”, peel off from the historic launch pad 39A, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, who saw off the missions of the Apollo program and the extinct ferries. The launch has been intensively promoted by the machinery of communication of NASA and will be presented by the president of the united States, Donald Trump .

If the weather permits, and the flight is not delayed until the next may 30, Behnken and Hurley moor c on the space station 19 hours after the launch. Your rocket will land automatically on a robotic platform located in the Atlantic, available for being re-used.

The launch will be important for two reasons. In the first place because the united States seeks to end your dependency on Soyuz and compete with Russia and China. In part this is why Trump has created a new branch of the armed forces, the “Space Force”, to operate in orbit, and has announced the goal of sending two astronauts to the Moon in 2024.

In the second place, the flight tomorrow is an important milestone in the strategic objective to promote tourism and the economic exploitation of the low-Earth orbit: a whole new space race in which the companies of high technology and new rockets of low-cost of private companies will take place in the space, both on Earth and beyond.

“we Aspire to a future in which we have a dozen space stations in low-Earth orbit”, said to AFP, Jim Bridestine , the head of NASA. “All of them operated by private industry,” he added.

For now, the take-off will mean the baptism of the capsule tripulable “Crew Dragon” from SpaceX, a company that until now had been limited to sending supplies to the space station aboard a capsule is not tripulable. It also will strengthen the rocket’s reusable Falcon 9, used routinely. If all goes well, SpaceX plans to send a tourist to circumnavigate the Moon in 2023.