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带我去月球,今年就算了——SpaceX推迟绕月旅行计划

David Meyer 2018年06月12日

公司没有给出绕月的具体时间,只是坚持说绕月旅行必将实现。

埃隆·马斯克旗下的太空探索技术公司(SpaceX)在去年2月就宣布,会在2018年下半年安排两位付费游客进行绕月旅行并返回。然而,计划有变。

据《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)报道,该飞行计划要至少延迟到2019年年中,而太空探索技术公司没有给出具体时间,只是坚持说绕月旅行必将实现。

这无非是在确认我们多少已知晓的事。当初的旅行计划是用太空探索技术公司的猎鹰重型运载火箭(Falcon Heavy rocket)来承载,但马斯克几个月前说会改用他们的“大块头猎鹰火箭”(BFR)。

BFR火箭还在研发中,这可以解释这次绕月计划的推迟。马斯克今年3月说BFR火箭将在2019年3月正式亮相。BFR火箭将主要用于火星探险和超高速的太空远距离旅行。

《华尔街日报》的文章也提到,太空探索技术公司对猎鹰重型运载火箭的取舍存在不确定性。太空探索技术公司自己也透露,因大型卫星发射合同的减少,明年重型运载火箭的发射次数会巨幅减少,而该公司更小型的已接受实践检验的猎鹰9号火箭,则可以轻松地将小型卫星送入预定轨道。

太空探索技术公司最近一次也即今年的第11次卫星发射,于6月4日在卡纳维拉尔角完成,同样也是使用猎鹰9号火箭。客户是卫星运营商环球卫星公司(SES), 所发射的卫星用于给中东和亚太地区的用户提供电视和数据服务。(财富中文网)

作者:David Meyer

译者:宣峰

Elon Musk’s SpaceX announced back in February last year that, in late 2018, it would fly two paying space tourists around the Moon and back to Earth. However, those plans have changed.

As reported Monday by the Wall Street Journal, the flight is now postponed until at least mid-2019—SpaceX won’t say yet when it will take place, though it insists it will happen.

This is actually confirmation of something we already more-or-less knew. The original plan was for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket to power the mission, but Musk said a few months ago that the company would probably use its “Big F—ing Rocket” (BFR) instead.

The BFR is still under development, so that would explain the delay. Musk said in March that it may debut in March 2019. The BFR is the rocket that SpaceX wants to use to get to Mars, and to make extremely quick Earth-to-Earth journeys.

However, the WSJ piece also notes that SpaceX is facing uncertain demand for Falcon Heavy, and that the company itself is projecting a significant drop in launches next year due to fewer contracts for large satellite launches—smaller satellites can be happily sent into orbit using SpaceX’s smaller, more proven Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX’s latest satellite launch—its 11th mission this year, again using a Falcon 9—took place at Cape Canaveral in June 4th. The client there was the satellite operator SES, with the payload being set to deliver TV and data services to customers in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions.

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