Government, Industry, and the New Frontier


Today marks the proposed launch date for the Falcon 9, a new rocket developed by the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. SpaceX, as it’s more commonly called, was created by PayPal and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk as a commercialized venture to ferry cargo to the International Space Station. At its heart, SpaceX represents a new wave of privatization in the space sector, a frontier once solely the domain of government entities like NASA.

You won’t hear this often from me, but President Obama was right to cut NASA’s budget in favor of private contractors taking over. Commercializing space is the only way to jump-start  humanity’s transition from low Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars. By turning over the more “mundane” tasks of spaceflight (if there are such things) to companies like SpaceX, NASA is free to plan bolder missions, both manned and unmanned.

But privatizing space is a…

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