Should Space be Privatized? | Space Time

HOST: Thanks to Curiosity Stream
for supporting PBS Digital Studios. On February 8, 2018, the
eyes of the world once again, fixed upon Cape Canaveral. This time people watched
with anticipation as SpaceX launched its
new Falcon Heavy rocket. The near-simultaneous landing
of its two booster rockets was like something
out of a sci-fi flick. It looked like the future. The subsequent view of a cherry
red Tesla Roadster drifting through space was like something
out of a Douglas Adams novel. The landmark launch of
the Falcon Heavy rocket is a milestone in a new space
race, not one between nations, but instead between
private companies. Is this the best thing for the
future of human space travel? [MUSIC PLAYING] The private funding of
space is not something new. In fact, this was the case
in the beginning of rocketry. Robert Goddard, the
father of rocketry funded his research out
of his own paycheck. The idea of governments funding
private aerospace companies is also not new. In fact, modern
commercial air flight is a direct result
of this relationship. World War I spurred great
leaps in airline technology and manufacturing capability. To encourage commercial
use of this new capacity, the US Congress passed
the Air Mail Act of 1925. Private companies quickly took
over the air mail industry. This spurred more technological
and business innovation. And before long, commercial
passenger flights became a thing,
a big, big thing. Just as with air flight,
the US government has taken steps over the
years to pave the way for commercial space flight. Ronald Reagan signed the
Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, which
for the first time made commercial launches legal. Under each of the
following presidents, NASA’s monopoly on space
flight was further diminished. The agency’s directive
became increasingly focused on science and
deep space travel, while private industry
was encouraged to take over the day to
day business of transport to Earth orbit. To spur private
competition, NASA implemented its Commercial
Orbital Transport Services Program in 2011. COTS awarded
government contracts for resupplying the
International Space Station. And this is where SpaceX
made its grand entrance. Funded by COTS,
its Dragon Module was the first private spacecraft
to dock with the ISS in 2012. Orbital ATK followed closely. And now, both companies
regularly resupply the ISS. The Sierra Nevada
Corporation is expected to join the ISS Private Club
when it docks its Dream Chaser spacecraft in late 2020. This is considered
a big win for NASA. The shuttle program costs
around $4 billion a year. But these resupply missions run
closer to $50 million a pop. But what about
manned space flight? Well, at some point both
Dragon and Dream Chaser are expected to carry
actual people to the ISS, and perhaps beyond. But that hasn’t happened yet. To date, only one
privately developed craft has carried a person to space. This was SpaceShipOne. In 2004, the first private
astronaut, Mike Melvill, blasted this
rocket-powered plane into a suborbital
trajectory, topping 100 kilometers in altitude. And only just kissing space. But it counts. SpaceShipOne’s adventure won
its maker, Scaled Composites, the cool $10 million
of the Ansari XPRIZE. Virgin Galactic teamed
up with Scaled Composites to form the spaceship
company, with the plan to turn its SpaceShipTwo into
a regular space tourism vessel. That hasn’t happened yet,
for reasons I’ll get back to. So why hasn’t private manned
spaceflight become a thing yet? Because money. Almost all private companies
are driven by the profit motive. And besides the distant
dream of space tourism, there isn’t much money
in sending people to space, at least compared
to launching satellites. That’s where the profit
is for the moment. And as a result, there
are many private companies in the business of slinging
satellites into orbit. Private industry’s
also eyeing the heavens for its vast natural resources. In 2015, Barack Obama signed
the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act,
which will allow US companies to own materials
extracted from space. Asteroid mining
seems likely to drive the next wave of
private enterprise, because the potential
profits are astronomical. That’s a whole
other topic though and it’s deserving
of its own episode. So here we get to the
main argument for public versus private space programs. It’s long been
perceived that in order to do important, but
unprofitable, work we need collectively funded
and administered agencies, like NASA. Grant enterprises, like
the Apollo moon landings, inspired generations. But didn’t turn a dime. The Hubble Space Telescope and
other space-based observatories have revealed the deepest
mysteries of our cosmos and keep a watchful eye
on our own fragile planet. But these will never
excite shareholders. We’ve sent probes to every
planet in our solar system and landed on several, but not
a single CEO got rich doing it. National space agencies
have done incredible things. But is their role
diminishing, even for the big low-profit stuff? There appears to be a new
model emerging for some of these moonshot ventures. And I’m talking
about private funding by idealistic billionaires. Elon Musk is getting the
most press right now. He seeded SpaceX with cash
from his first project, PayPal. Now that SpaceX has a
working heavy launch vehicle with reusable
boosters, Musk is eyeing colonies
on Mars and beyond. But Jeff Bezos, founder of
Amazon and his Blue Origin company, is neck and neck in the
whole relanding rockets thing. In 2015, his New
Shepard rocket performed the first successful vertical
landing after a spaceflight. SpaceShipOne was solely funded
by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, while its successor
SpaceShipTwo is now owned by billionaire Richard
Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Then, there’s Russian
billionaire Yuri Milner with his breakthrough
Starshot Program. His seed funding may put
the first robotic probe in another star system. We talk about that
project in this episode. But is this the
way we want to go? Shouldn’t our most
grand enterprises be funded and
operated collectively, chosen by humanity, or at least
those we vote for in elections. Or is it OK to cede
these important decisions to individuals and
private companies? Well, there are
arguments on both sides. On one hand, private
industry is less constrained by politics and public opinion. The last few US presidents
have ordered NASA to redefine its goals at some level. First, it’s Mars. Then, it’s back to the moon. Then, Mars. And then, the moon again. Massive human effort
is wasted every time a large program
is scrapped, often for poorly informed political
reasons or as publicity stunts. Government agencies are also
a little more constrained by public opinion. For example, the shuttle
program was shut down for years after the Challenger disaster. Private companies can
afford to take more risks. For example, SpaceshipX
recently put out a video of how not
to land a booster and estimated that
the Falcon Heavy had a 50-50 chance of
blowing up on the launch pad. Musk hit that launch
button anyway. Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo
is still forging ahead, even after the fatalities of a test
flight crash and an earlier tank explosion. Aerospace billionaires see
themselves as the new Wright brothers and see risk and
sunk investment as necessary for true innovation. And they want to move quickly. They want to move quickly, not
necessarily to turn a profit, but to see the fruits of
their labors before they die. And this gets us to
one of the main dangers in over reliance on
rocketeer billionaires. They won’t always be around
to see their visions through. Despite its struggles
with shifting politics, NASA has been at the
forefront of science and space exploration for 60 years. And its motto, for the benefit
of all, is still held dear. Will this be true of
the space programs built by today’s billionaires
after control slips to boards of directors? These are not known for
their idealistic tendencies. And whether our
aerospace executives are idealists or not,
they have a huge influence on the future of our species. Should that influence
be something you can seize with
hard work and cash, but without a single vote
in a public election? I’m not sure I know the answer. And I’d love to hear
your thoughts on this. Although, I’m actually
not sure we’ll have much choice in the matter. Private spaceflight
is here to stay. And that’s pretty
exciting, wherever you stand on the issue. The next step may
be to figure out how to best marry public
will and private enterprise, so that we may ensure
the benefit of all in our next steps in
exploring outer space time. Thank you to Curiosity Stream
for supporting PBS Digital Studios. Curiosity Stream is a
subscription streaming service that offers documentaries
and nonfiction titles from some of the
world’s best filmmakers, including exclusive originals. The future of human space travel
is starting to look promising. And you know what we
have to thank for that? We have the history of
human space travel to thank. As it happens, Curiosity Stream
has an excellent documentary on the dangerous early days
of putting people in space. It’s called “Rocket Men.” Check it out. Get unlimited access. And for our audience, the
first two months are free, if you sign up at and use the premier code
spacetime during the sign up process. Speaking of private
space funding, I want to give a huge thanks to
all of our Patreon supporters. Every little bit really helps
and you make it much easier to keep the show running. And today’s extra
huge thanks goes to Roman Pinchuk, who
contributes at the Quasar Level. Roman, we’re channeling
your contributions towards starting our
own aerospace company. We’ll start small, maybe a
skateboard tied to a weather balloon and work up to
launching sportscast to the asteroid belt.
Baby steps, right? In a recent episode, we talked
about the death of the sun. You guys had some
great questions. Stimuli asked why
stars get brighter as they age if their
fuel is depleting. Well, it’s pretty unintuitive. As the hydrogen fuel
in the sun’s core gets diluted by
helium, the fusion rate does decrease and
the core shrink. But that re-ups the
fusion rate again. In fact, to support the
increased gravitational crush of the smaller core,
the fusion rate has to be even higher
than when it started. [INAUDIBLE] wants to
know how the least mass of stars, red dwarfs, die. So red dwarf are
entirely convective. Plasma currents swirl
throughout the interior. That means new hydrogen
flows down to the core, while the helium
produced in core fusion is mixed through the star. By contrast, the sun is only
convective in its outer layers. No new fuel is carried
down to the core and the fusion products
remain stuck there. That leads to a
layering, an inert core, surrounded by a
fusing of hydrogen, which results in a
dramatic death cycle. But by the time a red dwarf
finishes using its fuel, the entire star
is made of helium. When fusion switches
off, the star contracts, until electron
degeneracy pressure stops the collapse. At that point, the whole
thing becomes a white dwarf, but without the dramatic cycle
of shell burning and red giant phases that the sun
will go through. Of course, we’ve never
seen the results of this, because no red dwarf has ever
died in this universe yet. These stars consume their fuel
thousands of times more slowly than the sun, which means they
can live hundreds of times longer, even though they
have less fuel to start with. The first red dwarf
will end its life when the universe is something
like 100 billion years old. And regarding our Trebuchet
Challenge question, [INAUDIBLE] laughs at physicists
with their frictionless trebuchets in a vacuum,
while Don Sample suggests we start by assuming
a spherical trebuchet. Hey, if I was physicing right,
I would’ve used natural units. Elementary trebuchets cast a
stone of mass 1 at distance 1.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. I think maybe the question is a little misguided. Let me illustrate: Should cavemen with lots of trees be allowed to build canoes and discover nearby islands without a vote of permission from the other cavemen? Should rich explorers be allowed to climb mountains without vote of permission from their neighbors? Should wealthy inventors be allowed to build mechanical birds without a vote of permission from the other citizens? Should billionaire moguls be allowed to build rockets, climb to space, and explore planets without a vote of permission from the rest of the world? The answer to all of these is obviously yes. Whether we also fund government space exploration is a completely separate question.

  2. Space !!! How much space. Perhaps we should treat it like we treat Antarctica. We cannot just give it away. The first "rights" to water, minerals and occupancy are our usual path.

  3. The space shuttle program ended years ago 1972–2011 , so why are you saying it costs around $4 billion a year? At least put it in the past tense if you're not going to go into its demis and our subsequent reliance on hitching a ride with Russian and Chinese government rockets until the commercial space-flight industry came of age.

  4. The karman line is a terrible demarcation for space. Space ship one gets credit for that stepping stone for being the first. After that reaching the karman has become meaningless, no one is getting wing medals for that anymore. The standard is now orbital velocity. This is why blue origin is way behind and not neck and neck with spacex. New Shepard was no different than other vtol experiments. The first landing of a rocket from space is falcon 9, that was the real achievement. Blue origin is still years, if not a decade away from that. Blue origin hasn't even reached orbit yet. It would be great if blue origin competed with spacex, but they aren't doing that yet.

    Diminishing spacex's unique achievements serves no good purpose at all. We must encourage others to really compete with spacex, not pretend they are competing.

  5. NO. Could organized crime get involved? Could evil organizations create havoc on the planet from up there? Collaboration with private companies? It's already happening.

  6. Certain ventures can be project-driven, funded by a small number of donors and still operate for the public good. For a historical example, there was a system of sponsorships in some ancient societies, such as in ancient Athens. Wealthy citizens were expected to, say, sponsor the arts or the military. There was a system of sponsorships in place where each citizen had to own maintain some military equipment, in proportion to their income.
    The important thing is that private space ventures must operate for the public good, and must not reduce the extent of the commons, which unfortunately selling parts of space to private hands does.

  7. The obvious answer is both public and private investment will be needed for space travel. However it is extremely costly and therefore not profitable. Without that profit private investment will be limited. Really public investment could be greater but there is not enough public demand for it.

  8. Wow, you definitely made me rethink my views, at least maintaining to keep my trust at bay and watch as the NASA geniuses continue to amaze.

  9. The idea that privatizing and commercializing anything will improve it is breathtakingly naive. It's really The American Nightmare. One example here from Denmark is how the state in the 1990es sold its telephone company to private investors, who quickly sucked out all the money and sold it again, leaving the current company now named TDC as an overpriced company charging exhorbiant prices for services that in quality are like McDonald burgers compared to steaks at a quality restaurant.

    As for the mention of idealistic owners of commercial companies: Yes, they do exist, but they're not typical of a system that is based on competition of making as much money as possible. They're the exceptions. The typical kind of commercial star company is Enron or Goldman-Sachs.

  10. I don't see how one could justify making space industry illegal. You can put international standards of safety into place, but I think that is it.

  11. We should create a third Reich but for space. There aren't any creatures to harm anyway so we won't have to purify any race

  12. NASA's original goal was, too encourage private companies to,go to space. NASA would prove it could be done then the hope was private companies would take over & improve tech NASA orig. developed & lower costs. The death of Apollo ended that.

  13. Something will not change, whoever control the most powerful weapon decides the outcome. Extreme liberal's utopia is not better than a world ruled by power.

  14. We will never advance till we see past money…in the universe our money is no good there.

  15. I believe government and private sector are complementary . Meaning that we at the end needs both, but we should assign specific roles to each one. First.. anything from Space BELONGS to the Humanity (of course if it isn´t another intelligent specie in the middle…), Goverment should give general directives and general polices on how to behave regarding potential conflicts en the Space and beyond (considering we are humans, those conflicts will exist!) the private sector will inject dynamism in the Space exploration and extraction but the greed should be limited as much as possible. We have the Earth as an example of how greedy people may destroy a Planet.. let's try to do it different this time..

  16. How not to land a booster…
    This video is new enough that you could have spoken as fast about how Space X put out a how to with honors! Obvious NASA bias. sad

  17. Why not? Education, healthcare, transportation are all privatized in the US, and that's worked out great (for the 1%).

  18. PBS Space Time with all due respect you have a global following so either stop quoting NASA all the time or speak a little about other agencies too. One company and country doesn't have a monopoly on the whole planet. sorrry

  19. Relying on a few idealistic, and benevolent billionaires to advance humanity means humanity will always be hundreds of years behind the bell curve on advancement. The best things happen when cooperation and progression are the motives, rather than when petty competitive fervor and profit are the motives. These assholes fund these excursions into space with dirty money, but it is the work of the factory workers, the researchers, and the foremen who propel us into space. These assholes steal the glory of their drones, and profit off of it. If only a handful of the earth's thousands of billionaires wish to advance humanity, that kinda throws a wrench into the whole capitalistic idea of "self interest is beneficial" doesn't it?

    You should look into how Musk runs his factories, how unions are busted up and subverted. It's a damn shame these "idealistic" men get to say they are the forerunners of space travel technology, when it is the workers who do most of the work for them. With that said, under the current economic system, sure nasa should concede certain duties to private companies, because nasa's budget is fucking laughable, and they're stretched far too thin. Look at china, how they prioritize their budget. If america did that, nasa would be establishing space colonies by now and all these private "idealistic" benevolent billionaires would be irrelevant.

    For comparison, china spends about half the US military budget on their space agency, which is why once they take the first steps into space they will be the true forerunners of space expansion. The US on the other hand only gets about 20 billion. It's for this reason that i find people who down public government funded space flight to be fucking morons.

  20. Private enterprise, should it even be permitted to continue existing, should be a servant to the society that allowed it to exist in the first place. You can't funnel money away from humanity without owing it a debt.

  21. Space was destined to be privatized ever since the international treaty not to militarize space. Signed on 27 January 1967. Therefore only NGO's can have space weapons.

  22. I'm going to say something blasmophous for this channel…
    Science has ruined NASA.

    In the Apollo age nasa use to spend its money mostly on RND, Engineers that would design and research how to build improved projects, they got to the moon through many fields working together and in return they were able to bring back moon rocks for scientific research. Since then NASA has been under total control by scientists who believe that sending people into space is a waste of money, they don't want to send people to mars because it will get in the way of their budget which they spend entirely on science missions.

    Don't get me wrong I believe learning about how our world works is extremely important, but imagine if scientists got ahold of Christopher Columbus's budget and sent researchers to America and instead of colonizing it they just came back with research to study. While it is nice to gather research it is better to actually colonize these new worlds which allows us to do massive amount of research and learning, I would argue we should focus on engineering and development so we can actually move people into space and when we go places then we could make scientific discoveries while we are there.

  23. This is an invitation to see a theory on the nature of time! In this theory we have an emergent uncertain future continuously coming into existence relative to the spontaneous absorption and emission of photon energy. The future is unfolding with each photon electron coupling or dipole moment relative to the atoms of the periodic table and the wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is part of a universal process of energy exchange that forms the ever changing world of our everyday life.

  24. I think a harmful, and missguided look is put upon private vs. public in the US. The United Stated won the competition against the Soviet Union and therefore unrestrained economy was seen as superior to anything else social market economy and state-planned economy. Well at least in some of those poorer countries you have people with lower income but they are able to get dental and health care service where an American is left alone facing ridiculous bills.

    The problem with space will be, no government will be able to extend police, and emergency services across interstellar space.

    So the contemporary way to think about public and private, big government vs small government does not really apply here fruitfully.

    Yet private people cannot just mine asteroids for profit and litter the waste say into earth orbit thus jeopardizing others.
    Private exploration and exploitation of resources will have to be regularized and covered by treaties.

  25. Yes, they should be privatized. However, not privatized in a capitalistic sense. Allowing private investors to dictate the fate of extraterrestrial communities would make the evaporation of American industry look like a minor inconvenience.

    Down with capitalism and let worker co-ops take the lead.

    But until then, let government take the lead. Government is beholden to us in at least some small way, unlike private corporations who are beholden only to shareholders.

  26. Ellon Musk isnt a phillantropist, its a new marketting technique were you dont donate to charity but rather donate to science and intentionally generate hype to create possitive advertisement. Ellon Musk is basicaly a cold, lying, and calculating version of Steve Jobs, he knows that by donating to humanitarian causes doesn't translate to free publicity anymore so he fakes being a visionary and a philantropist by donating to the one thing that excites people and then Steve Jobs the crap out of it.

  27. "Collectively funded and administered agencies." Sure is a fancy way of saying "coercively funded through theft and violence."

    The very fact that you guys even ask if space should be privatised reveals your bias in favour of tyranny and slavery. Private enterprise is the natural order. Everything is private by default. The question you should be asking is what justification do you have to demand the use of violence and coercion to create, enforce, and maintain a monopoly over any industry.

    And the irony is that you guys yourselves use the funding model that should be applied to space exploration. You talk about how "shareholders have no interest in space flight" or that "no CEO ever got rich". Well, PBS SpaceTime has no shareholders or CEOs either, and yet, you reach out to private enterprise in order to get funding through Patreon. There's no reason that the space industry should be any different.

    Want to fund the next generation of space telescopes? Make a good case for why and start a crowdfunding campaign. Don't run to the government and demand that they send men with guns to steal the money you need from unwilling victims.

  28. Mike Melville was NOT the first commercial astronaut! they were the North American test pilots(not the navy/Air force test pilots) for the x-15 program! Although they weren't given commercial astronaut wings(they got civilian astronaut wings, instead of the commercial astronaut wings they made for SpaceShipOne), they were the first astronauts who were not on a government payroll.


    Space is free and endless.

    Government is a granted monopoly on violence.


  30. I don't deny that NASA has achieved great things, but you present a false dichotomy between "private" and "collective," as well as your assertion that Musk, Bezos, and the others in private space flight are acting purely out of idealism with no expectation of profit.

    Private companies may be owned by a few wealthy individuals, but they are collective efforts. They are not mutually exclusive. Jeff Bezos didn't build the rockets used by Blue Origin, after all. The difference is that all government ventures are funded through the use of force via the tax system. Private ventures are not. Musk's SpaceX and Bezos's Blue Origin are largely funded by government contracts, thus they are not fully private. To the extent people are denied the choice of whether to spend the money on these things, they are government ventures. I have no problem with collective efforts. As I said, private companies are collective efforts in which joining and supporting the collective effort is freely chosen. I have a big problem with forced collective efforts. The private ventures are still funded largely by government contracts, but I think private is the direction we should be moving.

    As to the profit motive, Musk, Bezos, and the other players in private space flight are absolutely looking to make a profit, they are simply looking at making it in a time frame longer than the next quarterly stock report. SpaceX, after-all, has an implied value between $8 and $50 billion at the moment. That's not realized, of course, but it clearly demonstrates the profit motive is there and that a fair number of people are willing to risk money on it. The desire to make money and the desire to indulge one's idealism are also not mutually exclusive here. Musk and Bezos both want to get humans into space, an idealistic goal. They are trying to figure out a way to do it that makes a profit so they can keep doing it without having to depend on the idealism and kindness of strangers.

  31. Where are all the comments about privatization leading to companies mining asteroids and eventually leading to The Expanse's reality?

  32. In my opinion no.
    It's how you get out of control megacorporations.
    Just a single mined asteroid in private hands can overtake the economic system making the owner the undiputed economic ruler of earth.

  33. Space must not fall into private hands, and Earth needs to be redistributed to the public as well.

    "We've sent probes to every planet in the Solar System, and landed on several, and not a single CEO got rich doing it" is one the best sentences I have ever heard.

  34. just because there's a plaque in that car that says don't panic does not make it like something out of a douglas adams novel. for that you deserve some vogon poetry

  35. corporations run the government and the government fights wars for industry, so either way we'll all be mine slaves on mars soon enough

  36. Once humanity realizes that resources are for the better of the species and not for the individual (companies, stakeholders, CEO, Board of Directors) we will progress in all areas of science.

  37. Musk takes risks and ignores the potential disasters that might occur. At the moment his car company might remove him and he could be charged with offences by the American government. His offer to buy back the company shares is a real issue. NASA can't politically afford to do that. A miĺion die on the roads, or shot dead in crimes and the people shrug it off. A shuttle crew died and it was years plus billions of dollars before another launch.

    NASA pays for research they will never use because the government use it to subsidise the aircraft industry. Cut that and the excessive profits corporates make from contracts and the costs will drop dramatically. It won't happen because the political will is not there plus they need a way to give their friends a lot of taxpayer's money.

  38. I am a bit skeptical… Private corporations exist to make money. How do you profit from a mars colony? Lets say that Space X venture. How are they going to recoup all the costs involved in making the equipment and building a colony on mars? Spiffy graphic presentations don't get it done. All that tech needs to be researched, developed, tested and re-tested and tested some more. So they invest 10s if not 100s of billions building the ship to get the stuff there and then all the tech to make a colony happen. Heck, maybe trillions when its all said and done. Now what? Reality TV shows on mars? That would be awesome… for about one season. 'Oh… they're going out to the rover to reprocess their shit again… hmmm wonder whats on channel 5??' Audiences are incredibly fickle, and their attention spans notoriously short. How about minerals? Mars is covered with iron… but so isnt earth. Even if it become somewhat rare on the surface, there is lots of it in veins in the crust that is a hell of a lot easier to mine than shipping by the ton from mars… where its about a billion dollars an ounce for the trip home.

    Governments are all about flags and being first and prestige. All that stuff goes over about as well as a turd in a punch bowl in one of those board room meetings if profits are falling and debt is rising.

  39. My big concern with private space travel is let's say we get to a point where SpaceX sets up a colony on Mars or whatever. Would that colony be some weird corporate dictatorship, completely outside the bounds of any law here on Earth? That could be a problem.

  40. Of course space should be allowed to be accessed by the private sector! In no way shall that delete NASA, ESA, etc.
    Still need security laws, though.

    This is hard
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    Time follows decades, explode
    Vivid as a stan mode
    Better move back now
    It's bout to blow
    Hard like Geometry, and Trigonometry
    This is crazy
    Get it baby
    I'm bound to win
    Watch out now
    I'm going in

  42. Individuals power progress. Government's stifle creativity. Without indivuals there would be no humanity. No all to benefit. There is no argument against the individual.

  43. Okay can I just say that SpaceX’s rockets and spacecraft looks fucking amazing. Just look at the Crew Dragon vs the CST-100 Starliner. The Crew Dragon looks like something out a science fiction move. Even the bridgeway that crew will use to board the Crew Dragon looks amazing.

  44. Okay can I just say that SpaceX’s rockets and spacecraft looks fucking amazing. Just look at the Crew Dragon vs the CST-100 Starliner. The Crew Dragon looks like something out a science fiction move. Even the bridgeway that crew will use to board the Crew Dragon looks amazing.

  45. There are a lot of good things about the privatization of space. But I worry about that future group of moon miners, protesting for safer working conditions, and Space-Corp saying "can't afford to keep launching rockets if we have to also make sure our moon bases don't randomly depressurize, sorry"

  46. And now that commercial flight is a huge industry, it's next to impossible to get rid of it again, despite its effect on the climate… be careful what you wish for.

  47. Privatized? so now we think we own parts of space….be ok then if another life form decides that we are good for cattle and claim earth as part of their galaxy.

  48. Well publicly finding spaceflight has clearly been a failure since the 1970s so why not give privatization a try, right?

  49. Private space for the win. All it takes is one billionaire to somehow get a windfall from space and it's off to the races. Few things motivate like profit.

  50. Taxation is theft = NASA is theft.
    "The 'private sector' of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the 'public sector' is, in fact, the coercive sector." – Henry Hazlitt

  51. Thanks for talking about this… it's a question I KEEP asking myself… a lot of people talking about this are either obsessively "YES!" or "NO!"…. be interesting to see a more (hopefully) balanced view.
    Trouble is "those we vote for in elections" tend to be (and I'm talking pre-Trump as well here) tend to be complete morons.
    But, yeah, "boards of directors… not known for their idealistic tendencies" is also (more than) true.
    If only some kind of radical change could happen and we could have better governments… instead of clinging to Bronze Age concepts of politics put some skilled administrators and project managers in charge of managing and administering our nations (yeah, and get rid of stupid, archaic notions of nations too)… but I think I'm dreaming again.

  52. I see no public interest in sending people to space. The same taxpayer money can be spent on researching cure of cancer or degenerative diseases. I really do not see the point. Wasted public money.

  53. It's not space that's privatised, it is transportation to space seeing *organic private competition*.

    Privatisation of space would be selling ground on the moon exc, privatisation of transport would be NASA selling it's lunch rockets.
    Neither are happening.

  54. "Should" implies that that it needs to be authorized or something like in a dictatorship, which is weird. Unless you want to outlaw it, if someone want to do it in the private sector, it's going to happen regardless of what is done using public money whether you like or not.

  55. The greatest achievements in human history were emphatically NOT chosen by common people with menial day-to-day concerns. Those are the exact same people who say "we shouldn't do X until we solve all of our current problems", which totally ignores the facts that 1) solving all of our current problems is impossible and 2) focusing exclusively on our current problems blinds us to new problems that we aren't aware of yet. Insert reference to the Chelyabinsk Meteor here.

  56. musk is coming. he promises that spaceflight to the moon will only be 2 times the cost of a n airliner so it's gonna be around 2030 or something

  57. No one has actually been in space yet. Would that be a starting point? Mankind has only experienced the edge of space.

  58. "…no CEO got rich from it…"

    That's utter bullshit. Every single probe and lander America sent out into space was built by a company or built with parts from a company who got rich doing so.

  59. They could both coexist as long as it's regulated and nations worldwide have a strong grasp on them. Thinking about millionaires going to the moon is naive, we are talking that someone could create a tiny black hole orbiting the earth because why not, or drift an asteroid for mining closely to the earth and oops asteroid ends colliding and destroying us.

    As we move up on the energy consumption scale and technology (same goes to cloning or IA for example) laws and regulation should adapt to protect the public wellbeing. State agencies around the world should always keep an eye on whats going on.

  60. Governrnment contractors and their shareholders, with their notoriously overpriced closed bids, got tons of money in the "not a dime" group.

  61. Humanity has already ceded it's most important decisions to moronic narcisists and shown itself to have the collective IQ of a sea slug. Since we refuse to collectively plan for our species future (to the point where literally no-one has even bothered to try coming up with such a plan) I see no point in stopping anyone with the motivation and at least a clue of which way is the right direction to head from trying…afterall, we allow massively destructive individuals to indulge their mis-informed selfish whims on a regular basis.

  62. Are these private companies releasing all the data and technology they produce? Should science be privatized?

  63. One does not need to marry public aspirations and private enterprise. Private enterprise exists for the sole purpose of catering to the needs of people. If an enterprise regularly fails to do that, it will fade away into nothing in a decade.

  64. Not one mention of the carbon footprint left by dozens of rockets? A rocket leaving space isn't quite the same thing as a trip to the store. According to Smithsonian magazine, each Falcon 9 launch produces 150 metric tons of carbon, which would add up to a total of 4000 metric tons per year if SpaceX achieves its goal of a launch every two weeks.

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