Blasting Off Into the Private Sector

The United States has achieved some pretty amazing feats in space exploration. When Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon, it not only showed America's technological abilities, but also unified the nation as a whole. Since then, America has continued to expand its knowledge of outer space, completing more and more missions. However, as the costs of space research piled on, the US government pulled back funding for NASA and significantly limited its space travel programs. What does this mean for the future of space travel? Will America no longer shine as the leader in this effort?

Have no fear, SpaceX is here. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a privately-held space transport company represents privatization at its best. Tonight, it successfully completed another cargo launch sending vital supplies to the Space Station. SpaceX became the first private company to get a commercial space craft to the Space Station last May and has since been gaining momentum. It has secured numerous contracts with the United States government, and is undoubtedly pushing a new frontier in space exploration, one led by private business.

SpaceX did not start out this way. In fact, it faced many struggles just as most businesses do when they start off. Between 2006 and 2008, SpaceX faced public failures as its missions failed. Founder Elon Musk even considered ending the company. However, after 2008, the company launched it first craft into orbit, and a later mission finally reached the Space Station. What started out as an uncertain venture has now seen great success. Founder Elon Musk estimates that he will have his first manned mission in 3 years, and have his first man on Mars within 10 years.

Imagine that. In 10 years, a corporation will be representing America as we send our first man to Mars. The proud legacy that began with government sponsored missions will live on through the efforts of the private sector. In light of recent events highlighting corporate greed and bad business practices, it is amazing to think that private business may be what propels America forward to achieve its greatest feats yet.

-Smit Purohit