How Will Private Space Travel Transform NASA's Next 60 Years? | 10/12/2018 | Staff
DanRules394 (Posted by) Level 3
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NASA's next 60 years will probably be very different than its first six decades.

When the agency opened for business in 1958, private spaceflight was just a sci-fi dream. But companies such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin are working to make that dream a reality and open the space frontier to huge numbers of people for the first time.

People - Percent - Space - Enterprise - Scott

First, people should understand that about 75 percent of the worldwide space enterprise is already commercial, said Scott Hubbard, an adjunct professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University.

This includes the satellites belonging to DirecTV and Sirius XM radio. What's new s"is the extension of that into the human realm," said Hubbard, who also previously directed NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. He served as the agency's "Mars czar," restructuring NASA's robotic Red Planet-exploration program after it suffered several failures in the 1990s.

Companies - Price - Flight - Lot - Interest

And if private companies can get the price of a suborbital flight down to about $50,000, "you get a lot of interest," Hubbard told

The highest-profile program currently in the works between NASA and the private sector is the agency's Commercial Crew Program, said Eric Stallmer, president of the nonprofit Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

Crew - Development - US - Spacecraft - Astronauts

Commercial Crew is encouraging the development of U.S. spacecraft that will carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Toward this end, NASA has awarded multibillion-dollar contracts to both SpaceX and Boeing, which are building capsules called Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner, respectively. These craft are currently scheduled to start flying astronauts sometime next year.

There's also the maturing commercial cargo program, which has given contracts to SpaceX and Northrop Grumman Corp. to fly robotic cargo missions to the ISS. Both of these companies have already completed numerous such flights.

Hubbard - Stallmer - NASA - Wins

Both Hubbard and Stallmer said that NASA wins...
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