Saturday, June 5, 2010

Move Over NASA, Here Comes The Private Sector.

I've heard a lot of whining and complaining over Obama's decision to cut back on manned space exploration programs like Constellation.  A lot of it is centered around the idea that we may fall behind other countries in the "space race" sense.

However, the reality is the US is sooo advanced technologically that our private sector can do what most countries could only dream of!  So why shouldn't we let them?  Why use taxpayer's money to do what old fashioned competition and the free market may be able to do just as well?

The recent successful launch of the the SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket underscores that the private sector is moving into a position to do what only the government has been able to do so far.  I say let them do it.  From the Huffington Post:
A multimillionaire's test rocket... successfully reached orbit in a dry run for NASA's push to go commercial.  SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket achieved Earth orbit... drawing praise from NASA, the White House and others...

Friday's launch helps vindicate President Barack Obama's plan to give private companies the job of ferrying cargo and ultimately people to the space station, freeing up NASA to aim for true outer space. 
"This bodes very well for the Obama plan," said Musk, the co-founder of PayPal. "It shows that even a sort of small new company like SpaceX can make a real difference."
Don't get me wrong, the government will always need to fund basic science.  However, when it comes to hauling cargo to and from space or sending people to do photo ops on the moon and space stations, why not just let the free market foot the bill?  Seriously!


  1. It's really stunning that we are to this point in our society's development. And, I'm all for enterprise doing more.

  2. Brandon, I agree. We live in an amazing era indeed.

  3. I'm a HUGE fan of this! As an aerospace engineer it couldn't be a more exciting time in our history. Falcon 9 coupled with SpaceShipOne's recent successes is proof positive that companies can do this.

    It's a huge step forward to private industry who, I believe, in the end will do things better than NASA did.

    Joseph, there is one point you should know about. SpaceX's contract is with the gov't, so it is still gov't funded. It's just that SpaceX is a private company unlike NASA. A more telling example of private industry is Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites who flew SpaceShipOne at over 100 km entirely WITHOUT gov't funding in any form.

  4. jmb275,

    That's good to know SpaceX receives funding by the government. I did not know this. Thanks.

  5. I'm all in favor of Obama's new private-sector initiative, but it should be pointed out that this is really not part of it. This contract dates back to Bush's 1st term. We won't see the benefits of Obama's new policy for several years.

  6. Nick, good points. Thanks for the clarification.


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