Monday, August 13, 2012

Question 8 -- Commercial Space Venture

Should NASA and the federal government continue current efforts to encourage the development of a commercial space industry as is, or should it either curtail or expand these efforts? What specific actions would you recommend? Why?

NASA's current measured-approach to the commercial-space-industry is a well thought-out process that stands an astoundingly-excellent chance of nurturing a nascent high-technology industry into fruition in the shortest amount of time possible while maintaining the highest safety standards and at the lowest possible cost!

The Commercial-Crew (CCP) and Commercial-Crew-Integrated-Capability (CCiCap) programs are NASA-engineered-processes which will be studied in future references like almost all of NASA's endeavors are. This one will be on how to birth, incubate and establish a competitive multi-player industry, essentially from the ground up with fixed timeline-and-funding.

Examples of other successful NASA-encouraged space-based enterprises include the fast-maturing 'commercial-data' industry with US heavyweights like Hughes-Space-Systems and GlobalStar, and the adolescent 'camera-in-the-sky' industry dominated by American commercial entities DigitalGlobe and GeoEye.

Moving forward, considerations for privatization and commercialization could be given to other selected NASA missions where there are or-can-be commercial (fee-paying) customers besides NASA. Perhaps these could include any earth-observation-services remaining within NASA's portfolio along with space-weather monitoring and even research, the search for NEOs etc.

NASA is a primary customer of hundreds of businesses around the country. Some are seeded by NASA, many more have had successful technology transfers from NASA. Commercial ventures are nothing new to NASA. This practice must be maintained and indeed, further encouraged. While it may not be the primary reason why NASA was established, the nation benefits from the wealth of NASA-derived-technology that enhances our everyday lives because of commercialization.

NASA should reserve for itself the high-risk, seldom-profitable but high-glory missions of trailblazing. NASA is tasked to do the things that have not been done, to discover things-and-places never before discovered. Akin with historical pathfinder flag-carrying organizations like the English and Dutch East-India companies or the first 'path-finding-flag-carrying' European expeditions to The-Americas initiated by Christopher Columbus, NASA is America's Flag Carrier.



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