The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012

June 24, 2006

It’s About Time

NASA hopes to spur commercial space growth

It took help from the U.S. Postal Service to jump-start the nation’s commercial aviation industry in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin thinks a little push from government could do the same for the commercial space industry in the next several years.

The U.S. space agency is sponsoring a competition in which winning companies will get $500 million in seed money to develop space vehicles that NASA will never design, build or own. Like a U-Haul truck rental, NASA instead will merely lease them on a per-trip basis for sending cargo and eventually crew to the international space station.

The arrangement is unprecedented in the nearly 50-year history of the space agency, which traditionally oversees the development and construction of its own space vehicles instead of purchasing trips from private companies. NASA will pay out the money incrementally for each milestone achieved in the vehicles’ development. After that, the company or companies who win the competition will have to finance the vehicles on their own.

“I consider it to be a big gamble,” Griffin told a U.S. Senate committee recently. “It is well past time for NASA to do everything it can to stimulate commercial space transportation … and I’m trying to do that.”

I’d like to say that the commercial space industry will manage to flourish without this, but every little bit helps. At least we have someone who understands that if you want to get something done, you work with the private sector, not try to replace them.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:11 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: News, Science, Technology

1 Comment

  1. This one slipped past me. Good catch. I agree completely with that last paragraph – it will happen anyway; the government is much smarter to help than to hinder.

    Comment by Wulf — June 25, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

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