Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Boeing + Bigelow = WOW!!!

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/hyperbola/2009/09/commercial-crew-boeing-and-big.html

Oh my gosh, I can't believe this. Could it be that one of the "good old boys" of the Aerospace Industry is manning up and taking on the action of making commercial space transportation a reality? Could it be that their business model is shifting to include the common person and not just the fat government contract? Could we be witnessing the evolution of a company who is willing to take on the challenge (probably because they see the writing on the wall)? If this manifests properly, with the strength of a company like Boeing in the mix, we may just see advancement even faster than we thought before...as long as NASA doesn't bog everyone down with overtly restrictive and expensive requirements. Time will tell.

2 comments:

Marcel F. Williams said...

I don't think that there is any doubt that private industry can launch and operate a manned space program since its really private industry that builds rockets and space craft for the government in the first place. But I think its going to take a decade or two before such private space programs will be as safe as NASA or Russian space launches, unless they use a space vehicles and infrastructure that was originally developed by NASA or Russian space program.

The real question, IMO, is should the Federal government and the tax payers be dependent on private industry to get NASA astronauts into orbit. To me that would seem like an unnecessary middleman.

NASA has been a tremendous creator of wealth for private industry and for the American military industrial complex. So we need a strong government space program not only to pioneer the solar system but also to help create wealth.

In the long run, private commercial space programs will dwarf NASA. But they probably won't dwarf the US military space program. Once thousands or tens of thousands of people are living and working off the Earth and exploiting the natural resources of the solar system, the military will follow in order to protect the assets of private industry. America has a trillion dollar a year military industrial complex and most of that military money will probably shift towards space as we expand our civilization beyond the Earth. The US military already has a larger space budget than NASA.

Douglas Mallette said...

Marcel - Oh, there are plenty of people who think private space is bunk. They are so wrapped up in the government doing it, they can't fathom anything else, which is weird since private industry built this country to be the powerhouse that it is, not the government.

I don't care about NASA astronauts. I care about me, you, and anyone else who wants to get into space. The days of a select few, as appointed by the government, to enjoy the thrill and beauty of space travel are numbered. It's time for everyone to enjoy space, which means the government can't control it any longer.

The governments job is to build the rail road, not dictate it's use and also provide the trains and rail cars. The analogy fits for space as well. The government built the Interstate Highway system, but private industry used it to grow.

NASA should be the infrastructure builder and far ahead explorer, while growth and use of that system is left up to the private sector.

I do agree with the military complex being the stronger of everyone, for the reasons you've mentioned. As the economic growth of the space industry occurs, this will also mean the financial growth of the federal budget through taxes and such, which will filter to space defense. That all makes sense, since you must protect and ensure the safety of travelers in space, because no matter what, nutballs will try to be assholes and do harm to people...even in space.