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The New Space Race

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The New Space Race

Falcon Heavy Demo Mission

Falcon Heavy Demo Mission

SpaceX Photographer

Falcon Heavy Demo Mission

SpaceX Photographer

SpaceX Photographer

Falcon Heavy Demo Mission

John Kirkvold, Digital Media Editor, Writer, Photographer

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     In recent history, space exploration has come to a slow. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s new advancements were common place. In 1961 The Soviet Union sent the first man into space and just 8 years later in 1969 the U.S. put a man on the moon. However, almost 50 years later for the most part advancements have been few and far between. Any school student knows the space exploration exploded because two world powers were competing for dominance in the rocket industry. Technological advances always increase during times of war, its fact that competition means results and some may even say competition isn’t nearly as fierce anywhere as capitalism. That is why the world is at the dawn of a new “Space Race”, but this one is not between nations, rather its between companies using space for commercial gain.

     Last February, SpaceX sent the first ever rocket into orbit to be launched from a private launch pad. This was a landmark achievement and SpaceX was able to land two out of the three rockets up right. Reusing rockets has been a long time goal of the private company that was founded in 2002 as it greatly decreases the cost per flight since the rocket is the most expensive component of space travel and up until now was dumped in space to never be used again. The private sector has always had it’s hand in space travel but before now it was never private companies who did the innovating. For over half a century it was up to us, the people, and our tax dollars to advance space technology.

     The free market has always been the best at making things cheaper and better when there’s a profit to be made. With commercial satellites being sent out along with discussion on mining asteroids for rare minerals space is becoming more and more profitable with companies racing for dominance in this market.  This is how in the past 10 years we’ve seen companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin able to decrease the price of launching by 40%. Compare this with the advancements made by NASA through government funding. PragerU, a conservative private media organization and an advocate for the private sector, explains this well, “The public sector is not supported by profits so it doesn’t have to compete for our dollar. Instead it relies on our tax dollars to fund our services so we pay for these services no matter how much or how little we use them.” (PragerU 2016) Essentially NASA doesn’t have to turn out results unless our officials are breathing down their back much like they were during the Apollo era. This doesn’t mean that NASA is a waste however, it’s just that in recent years they’ve been more focused on Mars rover exploration and maintenance rather than making space access cheaper and more widespread. “It’s clear that the market driven private sector is more efficient. When you don’t have to be profitable and accountable things tend to be more expensive and worse.” (PragerU 2016)

     This efficiency can be seen in how NASA was set up. In what seemed more like a public relations move to keep national pride, the government set up NASA centers in 13 different parts of the country.

     According to Bill Nye “When you build rocket engines in Alabama, and you get the fuel from Utah, and you test them in Mississippi and you then send them to florida and control all them from Texas. With some drop testing done in Cleveland, and all sorts of research materials done in California, some flight tests done in the deserts of Arizona. When you do all that it just adds cost.” (Bill Nye 2014)

     When you compare that to SpaceX who for the most part has one factory and makes all their parts in one place it’s able to increase efficiency. Nye goes on to say “Keep in mind everybody… SpaceX has taken at least half a billion-500 million dollars from NASA because NASA wants to develop these capabilities.” (Bill Nye 2014) In short NASA isn’t with competing with these companies. In fact NASA has been trying to privatize space because they know it means an increase in efficiency and results. “When you buy an Atlas-5 rocket or Delta-4 rocket, those are commercial made gizmos. And so is going to be the Falcon and Falcon Heavy. These are commercial rockets and NASA has gone to great lengths to develop the that business.” (Bill Nye 2014)

About the Writer
John Kirkvold, Digital Media Editor, Writer, Photographer

John is a writer and editor for the RHS Nationalist. He is a cook in Hy-Vee making pizzas for the Italian department. John is plans on studying computer...

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The New Space Race