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Policy

White House: Commercial Rockets Are Actually Not Commercial

By Keith Cowing
November 6, 2017
Filed under
White House: Commercial Rockets Are Actually Not Commercial

Q&A: Plotting U.S. Space Policy with White House Adviser Scott Pace, Scientific American
“Heavy-lift rockets are strategic national assets, like aircraft carriers. There are some people who have talked about buying heavy-lift as a service as opposed to owning and operating, in which case the government would, of course, have to continue to own the intellectual properties so it wasn’t hostage to any one contractor. One could imagine this but, in general, building a heavy-lift rocket is no more “commercial” than building an aircraft carrier with private contractors would be.”
Trump space adviser: Blue Origin and SpaceX rockets aren’t really commercial, Ars Technica
“With these comments, Pace seems to be equating NASA’s SLS rocket with Blue Origin’s New Glenn and SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, saying one rocket is no more commercial than any other. However, under closer scrutiny, there is no comparison between the amount of funding that NASA has spent on its own rocket and the other boosters. The space agency has been working on the SLS rocket since 2011, and it annually spends in excess of $2 billion on development of the vehicle. Additionally, NASA spends $400 million or more per year on ground systems at Kennedy Space Center to support future SLS launches. These costs are likely to continue for nearly a decade until the SLS rocket reaches an operational cadence of approximately one mission per year.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.