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Business & Technology

Buzz Aldrin's Predictions For 2017

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Buzz Aldrin's Predictions For 2017

2016-12-30 03:36:16

A New "Race for Space"
Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the second human to walk on the moon, is a leading advocate of space science and planetary exploration. He is the co-author of several books, including "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration" and "No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon." He lives in Satellite Beach, Florida.Given President-Elect Trump's interest in putting in place a space council, I envision a more unified approach to shaping and overhauling aspects of America's civil, military, and industrial space sectors. And get ready for intense competition in the development of human spaceflight systems, not only for use in low Earth orbit but also outward from our home planet. This commercial "race for space" will lead to technical and business innovations we don't yet appreciate or understand.I think the year ahead will see Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin group wring out its New Shepard reusable suborbital launch vehicle and press forward on its New Glenn booster. Similarly, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo will hasten the pace of testing to create suborbital passenger service. And keep an eye on the maiden flights of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Dragon 2 capsules — stepping stones to restore our nation's capabilities for human spaceflight.I expect Elon Musk and his SpaceX rocketeers will fly their Falcon Heavy launcher from the refurbished Launch Complex 39 pad A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That's the same site that I rocketed from with my Apollo 11 colleagues, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, to achieve the first human landing on the Moon in July 1969!China is headed for several milestone achievements. For one, they will use their new Long March 5 and Long March 7 boosters to advance their goal of building their own space station. In addition, look for China to fly to the moon the robotic Chang'e 5 spacecraft and attempt the first lunar sample return to Earth in more than 40 years.Lastly, look for surprises from mysterious Mars! Now orbiting the Red Planet is the European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter that in 2017 will "sniff out" whether methane detected on that world is a product of Martian microbes.Personally, I'll be working as hard as ever to rally public and political willpower to hasten the day when those first footfalls on the Red Planet lead to permanent inhabitation of Mars.

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