SLS Spurred The Private Sector By Being A Bad Example

Artemis will accelerate the commercial space sector , Space News

"As the first flight of Artemis moves ever closer from Kennedy Space Center, critics continue to raise questions around the cost of the U.S. return to the moon by pointing to private sector alternatives as more expeditious and less resource intensive. Somehow lost in this critique is that the private sector is, in fact, the workforce behind all of NASA's design and manufacturing of launch vehicles and crew modules. That was true in the 1960s for Apollo and remains true today for Artemis."

Keith's note: This op ed by Christian Zur, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is one of those industry apologist word salads that includes history, buzz words, and rabbit holes that have nothing to do with the intended topic and distracts from the point he is trying to make.

He starts with fallacies such as "After all, since the retirement of the Saturn V rocket, no nation nor company had even built a vehicle capable of delivering astronauts back to cislunar orbit. Until the Space Launch System, that is." Um ... Falcon Heavy can do that easily. It has already flown. SLS has not.

Zur then goes on to somehow equate a large NASA workforce, some World War II contracts and some other government programs that sparked the semi-conductor industry. OK, so space stuff drives innovation. Guess what: he is right: and the innovation now resides mostly in the private sector when launch services that rival NASA's can be bought - off the shelf - now - for vastly cheaper than what has been sunk into SLS - or what the per-use cost of each mission on SLS would be.

Artemis did indeed accelerate activity in the private sector by offering private sector a role. SLS also accelerated the capability of the private sector - but it did so by providing a wonderful example of what not to do ever again - starting with the building of a government-designed mega-rocket that is too expensive to operate - and then making it the choke point in a human exploration program that has chronic whiplash from 2 decades switching back and forth from one destination to another.

SLS is not the inovation we got from NASA rocket science investments. Falcon rockets are.

- George Abbey: Time To Reconsider The Need For SLS, earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 11, 2021 11:01 AM.

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