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Commercial Space Y'all

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
May 27, 2022

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

5 responses to “Commercial Space Y'all”

  1. Richard Brezinski says:

    It was inevitable that commercialization would take over aspects of human spaceflight; space transportation, space utilization. Just like other technologies for transportation like rail and flight. In the US the government has been the main obstacle. The sooner you get government out of the way the sooner capabilities expand and costs decrease, to everyone’s benefit.

    NASA, has been commercial space’s biggest competition.
    Max Faget tried 40 years ago with Space Industries. NASA Code M sunk it because they were afraid they needed to protect space station.
    Spacehab was more succesful 30 years ago, responding to a NASA Code C (Commercialization) contract but it had to be hidden from Code M. Then when Code M (the ISS Program) bought out the contracts Spacehab was transformed to another contractor.
    Now we have capable commercial space vehicles and rockets. This happened mainly because NASA had no other alternatives other than the Russians.
    Now NASA stands in the way with its own competitors, Orion and SLS.
    Natural competition, like between Space X and Boeing, would spur activity and further lower costs.

    • Bob Mahoney says:

      What was done to the ISF was despicable…and a painful lesson not to be forgotten. Thanks for highlighting it.

      Early and urgent expediency caused a distortion & blurring of the proper roles of govt & industry in the advancement and execution of space exploration and development. The transition back to a wiser normalcy (as represented in so many other realms of societal progression) is still underway and perhaps quickening; however, some players in the game continue to see the distortion as the proper arrangement from inside the perspective of their having only known what had been since that early expediency.

      • Richard Brezinski says:

        NASA’s role was traditionally technology development and application of new technology to encourage and expand the US economy. Once Shuttle began to fly I think those heroes of mission control decided NASA had now graduated to an operations organization akin to the USAF.

        They managed to destroy the NASA engineering functions and they never made space operations any cheaper-just the opposite everything they touched became more difficult, more time consuming and more expensive. They traded away a lot of the manned part of ISS to the Europeans. NASA figured it no longer needed to be involved.

        NASA needs to remember real fast what its traditional roles were and how they might be of value in the future space economy because they really have, or should have a much smaller role in mission operations and flight operations. If they don’t figure it out then a lot of NASA’s human space role can go away. Companies like Space X do it better.

  2. Bob Mahoney says:

    Looking at the stubby Starliner service module (see dicussion elsewhere) reminds me of the AMC Gremlin TV commercial:

    “Where’s da rest of yur car, Toots?”

  3. Christopher James Huff says:

    Something about that picture has me imagining the two spacecraft eyeing and growling at each other.