Privatization of Space Exploration

After the government reduced NASA funding for the space program, private companies started designing rockets for space travel. Now while this is a good idea, it is more complicated without NASA. There is a chance that the private companies will excel and become profitable, but likely during this time we will fall behind Russia and China in space exploration. Some of the new rocket designs are very interesting, being highly re-usable. Another fascinating thing about the rockets is that the capsule on top which holds the crew shoots off and will travel in space, and the body of the rocket lands near the launch site vertically. In time this will make launches much more cost effective. With these new improvements in the rockets our space exploration program could grow to new hights, or fall behind other countries.

Timeline of Privatization

  • 8 December 2010 – SpaceX successfully launches and recovers its Dragon capsule on its first mission, marking the first time a privately developed and operated spacecraft is recovered from orbit.[18]
  • 25 May 2012 – The second mission of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule completes a successful rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station, making it the first private spacecraft to do so.[18]
  • May-July 2014 – A private initiative known as the ISEE-3 Reboot Project successfully contacts and takes control of NASA’s defunct ISEE-3 space probe with support from NASA and the Arecibo Observatory, making them the first private group to command a spacecraft in deep space, though their plans to change the probe’s orbit are abandoned weeks later when its thrusters fail to respond properly.[19][20]
  • 23 October 2014LuxSpace, an aerospace contractor based in Luxembourg, launches the Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (4M), the first commercial payload sent to the Moon, aboard the Chinese lunar flyby spacecraft Chang'e 5-T1.[21]
  • 23 November 2015Blue Origin successfully launches its New Shepard launch system into space and lands it vertically, making it the first VTVL rocket to land on Earth from space.[22]
  • 25 November 2015 – President Barack Obama signs the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, also known as the Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Act or SPACE Act of 2015, which codifies the ability of American companies to own material resources extracted in outer space.[15]
  • 21 December 2015 – SpaceX lands the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral, marking the first recovery of a VTVL stage from an orbital rocket.[23]