Lt. Col. McClain will be part of the upcoming Artemis mission, which aims to send women and men to the moon. In 10 years the space industry has developed completely, especially with the arrival of private companies. New starships, new technologies… Anne McClain interviewed TechCrunch about how she sees the future of this industry.
Anne McClain acknowledges that technology has made tremendous advances
Before Anne McClain was selected as part of the Artemis mission, she remained on board the ISS, which stretched from December 2018 to June 2019. She had the opportunity to pilot the Russian Soyuz capsules. like most astronauts who have been on the International Space Station for years. However, in the past few months, astronauts have been traveling aboard a spacecraft made by SpaceX, the famous kite. Lt. Col. McClain had the opportunity to work on and observe this ship while it was docked at the station.
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Anne McClain explains, “I was so happy to have piloted the Soyuz because it is such a reliable and simple spaceship. It’s a real piece of space industry history. I had the opportunity to observe the spacecraft built by SpaceX while on board the space station during the flight of DM-1. I could float in the capsule and look at the screens and monitors … We quickly understand that technology has made advances … ”.
Flexibility: respecting the main criterion
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are the first two astronauts to fly the kite. According to them: “This ship is very different from the others. Everything can be managed through the touch screens, it’s absolutely amazing. “In this context, McClain pointed out the difficulty of advancing a technology to the point where a person’s life can be entrusted to it. She adds: “We always wonder if a human is important or if it can be automated. I had the opportunity to work with Bob and Doug and advise SpaceX on how to control the cockpit from the start, and today I see they have created an incredible machine. “
As the astronaut reminds us, flexibility is the main criterion to consider in a spaceship. If the original scenario deviates only slightly, the tools have to be flexible and not restricted: “We pilots always want more options. Whatever happens, we need options. While we try to predict all the scenarios on the ground, we are aware that something can happen that wasn’t foreseen, and at this point … we want options. “
According to McClain, it makes no difference to work with private companies. She believes, “It’s not these companies that build the spaceships, but the people who work for these companies. The talent that built the shuttles or the space station is now common in the commercial industry, which is exactly what NASA wants to do. NASA’s association with these companies is extremely cautious. I have full confidence. These technologies help bring the earth with us into the spaceship. “