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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Privitisation of Space

This is not a joke anymore. From a Popular Mechanics interview with the head of NASA, Michael Griffin:

[PM] 2. Your administration has gotten a lot of attention for reaching out to private enterprise and working collaboratively with some of the private space ventures. Do you see that as playing a critical role as we go forward—perhaps some of the low-Earth orbit functions that NASA currently has to shoulder?

[MG] I’d like for us to get to the point where we have the kind of private/public synergy in space flight that we have had for a hundred years in aviation, where we’ve had government development and requirements and we also had the same on the commercial side. It led to the creation of the aviation and air transport industry, and it led to American pre-eiminence in that industry in the past century. Space flight has been, necessarily, heavily subscribed by the government. But we have not had enough private enterprise, stimulated by government demand. And I’ve been trying to work on that. I think it’s crucial for the future.

[PM] 3. So you see a day when private industry might be lofting payloads into orbit? And you’ll put that out for bid?

[MG] Absolutely. I see a day in the not very distant future, where instead of NASA buying a vehicle, we buy a ticket for our astronauts to ride to low-Earth orbit, or a bill of lading for a cargo delivery to space station by a private operator. I want us to get to that point.

Listen up and pay attention. The military industrial complex in the USA is setting up a massive government subsidy programme from corporations and wealthy individuals for space. Bottom dollar, the result will be that the State will pay for these bastards to colonise and then own space. And, where will we be? Back down on Earth, choking on fumes left over from the State subsidising the transport and energy industries of the 20th Century. Oh, and we will be hungry, because there will be NO FISH LEFT IN THE SEA.



  • Scary stuff! Talking about the rich escaping to Mars, have you read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy - rather voluminous but deals (fictionally) with some of the issues...

    By Anonymous Andreas, At 9:39 am  

  • Hey Andreas,

    Yeah, good book, but long, very long. Given the way the current lot operate, a Robinson scenario sounds overly optimistic. Ursula Le Guin has much more progressive politics, i.e. The Dispossessed. If I remember the quote correctly, goes something like, "Well you have your anarchist, what are you going to do with him?"

    By Blogger Tristen, At 10:10 am  

  • Curious about your opinion. What would you propose, exactly? It sounds like your concern is about spending on space exploration when there are more important things to spend on? (Relative importance and finance being the key, I assume you don't have a problem with space exploration, per se?)

    Privatisation of space is partly about getting space exploration cheaper... though I guess that isn't really measuring in terms of environmental costs? I remain hopeful for a space elevator within my lifetime... ;)

    By Blogger Hugo, At 5:16 pm  

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