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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From NASA to Boeing...Huston,We May Have a problem!

Following a good tip from a comment, I have started researching more about NASA and the private sector space exploration.  Much can be said on both sides of the argument and getting information not tainted by either view point is difficult.

I am all for decreased government in our lives and I fully support private sector jobs.  I believe the cure for our economy rests with the private sector creating more jobs and the government decreasing their involvement in businesses.  That being said, I still have reservations regarding shutting down any part of NASA.  

I do believe the private sector will come out with a great many new inventions and technology, the drive to compete against other companies will enforce the need to ensure the best products at the best pricing possible in order to compete in the market.  That is the beauty of free markets and part of what makes America great, the free market is a wonderful design.  It is how we get cheaper and better products consumers use on a day to day basis.  Free markets drive our economy, so in this sense I think the private sector getting in on space exploration is a great.  

However, there are some problems with this ‘somewhat sudden’ development of shutting down part of NASA (which began being talked about April 15, 2010).  Here are some facts I have uncovered:

1)       Two of the companies (Lockheed Martin and Boeing) are getting around $6 billion from the government (instead of NASA) to help them start building shuttles.  Both do a great job in building aircraft and both gave  large amounts of campaign contributions to the Democratic party in 2010.  Could this privatizing space have anything to do with that, is this a kickback as some suggest for contributing to the party, or is it a coincidence?  You decide.

2)      It is projecting to take till 2014 to build the first space shuttle by private companies.  What if it takes even longer than that?  Why not wait to halt NASA space exploration until private companies have had time to work on constructing these shuttles?  Why the rush?  

3)      We will now be reliant on Russia to explore space. If one remembers history correctly we fought Russia to be the first in space and now we are handing them the reins on space explorations and advances in technology.  We will be reliant upon them until our own shuttles will be operational, this makes our military, to an extent, dependent on them.  Something I am not comfortable with.

4)      It could cost the U.S. $56 million per seat for us to go up with the Russians on their shuttles.  While there, we will still be reliant upon them on where we go.  Who is to say they will give us the ability to go where we want?  We are ‘riding’ with them, not using their craft.  Also, they will have access to hear everything we say.  Is anyone not a little worried they will take over space and leave our military weakened?  Almost everything we do is dependent upon our satellites in space. I for one am concerned over having to trust Russia with something so vital to our survival as a nation.   

5)      Thanks to NASA we have many inventions we use daily, such as Satellite dishes for our TV’s, shock absorbing helmets used in sporting events, edible toothpastes, joy stick controllers, ear thermometers, pens that can be used to write upside down, smoke detectors, cordless power tools and more.  Will the private sectors be developing such inventions?  I assume they will, astronauts need such inventions to aide them in space, but what if they don’t?  

6)      Those who argue that NASA cost too much for tax payers need to know that less than 1% of the federal budget went toward NASA.  Closing down part of NASA will not save us enough to make a dent in our budget problems.  

After all this research, I must say that overall I am saddened we will no longer be the leaders in Space.  I am proud to be an American and I believe NASA was one of the great things we possessed.  I am happy to see the private sector grow, but I worry it is growing at too great a cost. 

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