Space or Aeronautics: Is there room for government in either?

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As most people know by now, big cuts are coming down the pike for the aeronautics division of NASA, as the administration chooses to refocus funds on the space mission of the agency. The agency will be looking more towards competitive sourcing as a way to develop projects. Not a terrible thing, in my mind, though I do think there are still a few things NASA is right to have under its jurisdiction.

All this happens, of course, at the same time that private initiatives into reaching space are increasing their tempo. Fast Company has an interesting piece on a company called SpaceX and their Falcon I, looking to put small payloads into orbit on a budget far below the traditional cost. (I promise it won't be all Fast Company, all the time. I just recently found their blog.)

If industry is the place to turn for aeronautics innovation, and the private sector is responding to the success of SpaceShipOne, then what exactly is it "we" are hoping public fund expenditures will achieve?

1 Comment

Good point Ian.

If you are a Dan Brown fan, you may know that we should be weary of NASA "discoveries." He explored this topic in a very enteraining way in Deception Point.

NASA has proven to be an IP factory better than most government agencies and at least a great number of their technologies become available to private industry.

However, SpaceShipOne proves that NASA is not as quick and nimble as private industry. NASA seems to be constrained by bureaucracy and bouts of severe risk aversion at all the wrong times.

A number of my friends are losing their NASA jobs in the new budget cuts and I expect they would be better off in private industry anway. Time will tell.

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