Space travel in 2020


Science/High-Tech /

2020 has been a good year for space travel and exploration. Although it has been a year filled with coronavirus, six humans traveled on commercial crew vehicles to space, several satellites were launched, and three spacecrafts journeyed to mars.

First human launch on a commercial space-craft

NASA— as part of its Commercial Crew Program to reduce its reliance on the Russian soyuz craft—funded private spaceflight companies, including Boeing and SpaceX owned by Elon Musk. On May 30, SpaceX carried a pair of astronauts to the International Space Station.

The flight made history as the first human launch on a commercial spacecraft and the first time astronauts flew from a U.S. launchpad since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011. After their safe return to Earth on August 9, another flight was launched November 15 which took four astronauts.

Three space-crafts left for Mars

The three space-crafts that left for Mars in July are expected to arrive in February 2021. The names of the crafts; the perseverance rover and NASA’s fifth Martian rover were launched to search a dry river Delta for ancient life. The rovers are also to collect rock samples of the red giant.

Mega-constellations

In its bid to bring high-speed internet around the globe, SpaceX through its Starlink project, launched hundreds of satellites this year. Not everyone is happy, as scientists fear that the increase in satellites orbiting the earth could spoil the night sky for astronomy by reflecting extra light down at earthly telescopes.

To solve the problem, SpaceX tested a dark coating meant to make the satellites less reflective, but it failed to work. They are currently launching satellites with small visors that has had a small impact on the reflectivity of the satellites.

The good news is that astronomers and space companies are already discussing the problem, and a solution is expected to be reached soon.