Hidden Nook

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NASA Seeking Space Ferries

[Media Source*]

(New Scientist Space) NASA is looking to private companies to launch both supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station, it announced this week. [...]

"It's not cost-effective doing station flights while at the same time focusing on getting back to the Moon," says Brett Alexander, vice-president of Transformational Space, one of the companies hoping to launch astronauts to the ISS.

NASA intends upon retiring the space shuttles in 2010, which only leaves it with 18 flights towards the ISS. Outsourcing these responsibilities would be a wise alternative, considering the accomplishments of the private sector regarding the space elevator. Although some may praise this as an opportunity for the private sector to finally serve the public good, NASA seems hesitant about turning over the reigns to the corporate world.

(New Scientist Space) On 3 November, NASA administrator Michael Griffin told the US house science committee that the agency expects to invest about $500 million in the commercial cargo and crew project over five years. "That kind of a financial incentive [...] will be sufficient to allow substantial providers to emerge," Griffin said.

"I hope that industry, if put to the test, can do better [than the government], but I do not expect it," Griffin added.

Only time will reveal whether Griffin's expectations are either exceeded or confirmed. But seeing how the private sector has been able to successfully transport civilians to the ISS (at about a fifth of the cost), it would come to no surprise if corporate America was able to out perform their bureaucratic friends in government.

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By Darnell Clayton • 8:36 AM • Email Post • •


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