Both NASA and SpaceX have among its future major goals to accomplish two things in common: travel to the moon and colonize Mars. However, even when the space company and the federal agency don’t exactly work side by side, that doesn’t mean they are starting a new space race.
Both organizations have not exactly been working alongside one another, but NASA has been an ally of SpaceX on critical issues that have produced the growth of the company in many ways. Even in a way, NASA has been SpaceX’s most important customer, as the federal agency has needed the company owned by Elon Musk in tasks that could have been difficult to do by themselves.
NASA has provided the company with contracts regarding cargo and astronauts delivery to the International Space Station. In this issue, SpaceX is going to need technical assistance if it wants to expand its objectives and become more visionary.
SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, thanked this week the incredible help that his company has received from the federal space agency, as through a tweet in his personal account he wrote “SpaceX could not do this without NASA. Can’t express enough appreciation.” This statement is related to the announcement Musk gave last week regarding the project that wants to launch two private individuals to the moon in 2018.
NASA also needs SpaceX
Due to the funding cuts that the federal space agency has had to overcome, NASA has allied with several companies to keep research programs in function. Space transportation is the first thing that NASA looks for in companies like SpaceX, thanks to the fact that the current budget of the agency is about half compared with the one that had in the 1960’s. To transport cargo or persons to outer space is one of the most expensive things any space agency has to do.
In this matter, NASA has released an official statement that says that they are “changing the way it does business through its commercial partnerships.” This comes as an explanation that frees the agency and makes possible for it the pushing of its efforts toward rockets’ developing and deep space research programs.
“The whole idea is that NASA is at the point of a spear,” said Howard McCurdy, professor in the school of public affairs at American University. “It’s like exploration of any terrestrial realm. This is the way the model is supposed to work.”
SpaceX and other related companies have presented a quick ascension in the last years. This can be the ultimate prove regarding the Commercial Space Launch Act efficiency. The Congress passed this legislation in 1984, and it’s oriented to stimulate public-private partnerships that could enhance the whole space investigation field in the United States.
The rise of several pioneers enterprises can prove the legislation is working, as some experts have explained that NASA is one of the principals responsible for it.
“Having NASA as an anchor client allowed them to have enough revenue flow so that they could establish themselves and eventually diversify and get some commercial contracts and eventually to be able to get into the military establishment,” Marco Caceres, senior space analyst at the Teal Group, said in an interview with The Washington Post this Sunday.
Amazon’s Bezos also announces plans in outer space
SpaceX and NASA are not the only ones that are targeting the moon in its future goals. Blue Origin, a private space company, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is also orienting its future objectives in the moon direction, as the natural satellite seems like a very profitable place for commercial companies too.
Since it has been more than four decades since the United States don’t travel to the moon, experts say that the Trump Administration could be interested in a mission to be held in the first term of the Republican President to rally the country like in the 1960’s Apollo achievement.
In this matter, not only SpaceX has announced its planning regarding possible tourist flights to the moon, but Blue Origin has also expressed its commercial interests. According to The Washington Post, Bezos sent a 7-page white paper to both NASA and President Trump’s transition team concerning the company’s idea of deploying a spacecraft with a lander in the moon’s surface.
The memo regularly expresses the urgency of the project, as a shipment service seems like crucial for Blue Origin once there is human life established in the moon. Gear for experiments, machinery, specialized materials to enhance habitat and other objects are the ones that should be sent through this hypothetical service. Blue Origin and Bezos consider that this service is fundamental to a “future human settlement” of the moon.
The paper was obtained by The Washington Post, who then sent it to the company and confirmed its authenticity. Even when Blue Origin didn’t allow its release, they were open to receive questions about the information in it. In this issue, Bezos talked about his company goals.
“It is time for America to return to the Moon — this time to stay,” Bezos said in response to emailed questions from The Washington Post. “A permanently inhabited lunar settlement is a difficult and worthy objective. I sense a lot of people are excited about this.”
Source: The Washington Post