by Launchspace Staff
Bethesda, MD (SPX) Jun 04, 2013
Based on current NASA and DOD launch vehicles and plans for next generation options, the future for space launch appears to be pretty dull. DOD has EELV in the form of Delta IV and Atlas V.
These are great and reliable systems, but they are expensive and will continue to be expensive. And, it looks like the next generation of military launchers, if there is one, will also be expensive.
To add insult to injury this family of vehicles is highly under-utilized and redundant. A down-selection to one EELV would have the sole effect of saving money - an idea that is long overdue.
Then there is NASA. The new U.S. Space Launch System, or SLS, claims to provide an entirely new and affordable capability for human exploration beyond Earth orbit.
Does anyone believe this design is new or innovative? And, what about affordable? The design is obviously a gerrymandered attempt to satisfy a political agenda.
Furthermore, there is a good chance it will be more expensive than the Space Shuttle.
So, where is the innovation? Clearly, the private sector is doing the job that needs to be done. There are a dozen or more small companies that have recently demonstrated more innovation when it comes to launch vehicle approaches than has NASA or DOD in the past decade, and at a cost that would not even show up in the government's budget round off-error.
Why is the private sector so good at this and the government so bad? It is simply the culture. The government lacks leadership and the will to take bold steps. Entrepreneurs have leadership and are willing to take risks in order to succeed. The government can waste taxpayer's money without accountability or risk. Entrepreneurs have to make their money work or go bankrupt.
Of course, this culture difference goes well beyond the space program and affects every aspect of our society. And, it can be changed only by an educated electorate.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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