NASA astronauts will probably launch from the US before The Winds of Winter is published

In this life, there are two things that are very important to me: the space and the series A song of ice and fire . And earlier this year, I made a fun discovery that these two subjects share a similar problem. I have been waiting the same amount of time for The Winds of Winter to get out while I was waiting for NASA astronauts to take off from US soil.

Since I realized, I've been really torn about what event I thought would happen first. But with the news that The Winds of Winter will not be released this year, I am convinced that the USA rockets UU They will transport humans again before they know if Aegon is really the mimidic Dragon.

George RR Martin released the fifth book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, on July 12, 2011 (which is also my birthday). A little more than a week later, on July 21, the last flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program came to an end with the landing of Atlantis at Florida. It was the last mission in which American astronauts flew into space from American soil.

that final flight, the NASA astronauts have been hooking space trips in the Soyuz rocket of Russia instead. It is not the best business: our space agency pays Russia around $ 80 million per seat to travel in the vehicle. But there are plans for NASA astronauts to launch again from the United States. The Commercial Crew Program of NASA has commissioned two commercial companies, SpaceX and Boeing, to develop spacecraft that can take astronauts to the International Space Station.





Steve Snowden / Getty Images for AMC Networks

Meanwhile, Martin says that he has been working on The Winds of Winter. And to be fair, there is evidence that this is true; They read and published nearly a dozen sample chapters of the book. However, the publication date is a mystery. Martin admitted in January 2016 that he tried to complete the book before the sixth season of the adaptation of the program, but did not meet the deadline. Then, in 2017, he responded to a comment on his blog that he thought the book would be made that year. It was not so.

But just like writing The Winds of Winter [Los vientos del invierno] the development of new spaceships with human qualification has also taken much longer than expected. It was assumed that the first crew flights of SpaceX and Boeing vehicles would take off in 2017. But the commercial crew program has suffered numerous setbacks and safety problems, which have delayed the first missions. From now on, the crew will travel in the vehicles of the companies for the first time later this year. But a recent audit of the Government Accountability Office throws that timeline in doubt, so it is very likely that astronauts will not fly on SpaceX or the Boeing spacecraft until 2019.




Artistic representations of capsules that SpaceX and Boeing are developing to send astronauts into space
Image by Alex Parkin / SpaceX / Boeing

Because of all this uncertainty, I once thought that Martin would finish his book before the Commercial Program came into full swing. Creating new space flight capabilities is difficult, and NASA has imposed a particularly strict security standard on its two business partners. In addition, Martin has insisted on multiple occasions that he saw the completion of the book on the horizon. He even has a team of researchers and assistants who help him maintain the continuity of Westeros.

But now that Martin has admitted that The Winds of Winter will not be released this year, it has left me with no choice, and without a doubt: SpaceX and Boeing will first launch NASA astronauts. It is not only that the book is delayed again. Instead, Martin is launching a 640-page history book about the Targaryens: there are 989 handwritten pages! About a single family in Westeros! Of course, both SpaceX and Boeing have other projects they are working on, but these companies have thousands of people. Only one person can write the series A song of ice and fire and if Martin is working on a separate "imaginary story", is not written .

No, the rockets will take off first, I'm sure, and that's ultimately a great thing. We are currently in the middle of the longest gap in manned space flights in the United States since the advent of NASA. And NASA is running out of Soyuz seats to send its astronauts to the International Space Station. That is why taking off SpaceX and Boeing vehicles is important for the future of the space program.

I doubt you have The Winds of Winter in my lap when I see the rockets go up, but at least one type of Dragon will fly.