Paradigm Shift In The Making: Non-Goverment Funded Space Science

In Historic First, Three Scientists to Fly on Commercial Spacecraft, CSF

"Three scientists, including a former NASA executive, will become some of the first scientists to fly on a commercial spacecraft -- and they will fly multiple times -- under the terms of two funded agreements announced between the nonprofit Southwest Research Institute and two commercial spacecraft providers, Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace."

Keith's note: Something interesting is happening: XCOR and Virgin Galactic, two different companies with two different approaches to providing crew and cargo access to space on suborbital vehicles are both announcing commercial contracts to fly payloads and private payload specialists. The funding force behind this ground breaking dual lauch provider effort is the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

Contrary to the dismissive view many have taken with this emerging sector i.e. that it is only suited for well-heeled tourists, these announcements show that there is viable commercial and scientific work to be done on these vehicles as well - work not dependent on government contracts. Moreover, this commitment by SwRI shows that this activity can be conducted wholly within the private sector between research organizations and commercial providers.

In addition, these announcements underscore the growing understanding that there is value to using regimes other than orbital flight, and that other portions of near-Earth space, the so called "Ignoreosphere", have value both as locations to conduct scientific research and education as well as being regions of intrinsic value themselves worthy of future investigation.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on February 28, 2011 11:54 AM.

SwRI Breaks New Ground With Commercial Suborbital Science Contracts was the previous entry in this blog.

Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2011) is the next entry in this blog.

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