The following guest-post is from a young man trying to grow his essay-writing business. He contacted me and offered to research/write an original post on a topic of my choice. Since I had been meaning to return to the subject — well, some aspect of it, anyway — of commercial spaceflight, I decided to let him give it a go….
Predominantly, US outer space missions have been largely dominated by the central role played by Government institutions or agencies, including NASA. Although several private entrepreneurial and start-up space companies began to make earnest efforts to drive private resources and technical know-how in the business of outer space travels, most of them ended in overwhelming fiascoes, some ideas plummeted back to earth after a short takeoff, while still other ideas have not yet moved off of their design boards.
This is understandably so, since space flights by private firms or even through public-private partnerships (PPP) do not fully realize the challenge in terms of relevant space technology, massive funding needs, technical support, and simply not knowing the right way to put private citizens aboard a space flight, destination outer space — maybe to the Moon or Mars.
But, with all fairness and serendipity, the private space flight scenario seems to have earned a reprieve with President Obama’s budget speech in 2011 in which he envisaged plans for NASA under which private sector firms as well as entrenched aerospace companies could join hands to fly US astronauts into space. The main objective, however, is to spend $6 billion over the next five years in order to help technology develop new commercial spacecrafts that could carry citizens into outer space. Thus, it is high time that private capital and entrepreneurship play more dominant roles in US Space Programs and offer technical, commercial, and funding assistance.
The case for growing commercial space flights is as follows:
1. Private capital and enterprise could provide a helping hand to NASA and its ambitious future space programs.
2. Outer space has infinite potential for future mineral exploitation. For instance, out of the different kinds of asteroids flying through space, a half kilometer, S-type is a veritable treasure trove of iron, magnesium, silicates, cobalt, and platinum, with estimated value of about $20 trillion.
3. Space technological advancements, especially in rocket propulsion, could very well ensure longer, safer, and deeper penetration into space.
4. A younger and more risk-bearing crop of new astronauts are ready to meet any challenges on the ground and in outer space.
5. Experiences in the USA have proved time and again that private capital and enterprise have safely and profitably turned around many projects pioneered by Government and made it handsomely profitable, high performance-oriented, and very productive. This could also hold true for future commercial space flight business.
However, all is not as rosy as it seems to be. There are indeed several risks, challenges and issues that need to be ironed out before commercial space flights could become a viable reality.
1. Political considerations: Historically, the administrations in power have not favorably considered carrying forth the unfulfilled legacy of previous administrations and this extends to the space exploration domain, too.
2. Funding is a major problem even with the enormous resources in the hands of private players.
3. The minimum cost to send a single person to space is around $50 million, although this may come down substantially in later years. Space shuttles cost between $750 million and $2 billion per flight for 7 astronauts, varying with number of launches each year.
4. At this stage, the private sector is not technically competent enough to send people to outer space. Besides, they need to involve NASA, too, who would need to establish mechanisms to certify commercially orbital vehicles that could also be safe for human transportation. The technology to send non-astronaut humans into outer space is nascent even for NASA Standards and may take many more years to be well developed and of practical use.
While the private sector and non-Government enterprise may have the courage, imagination, verve and tenacity, even funding, to place humans in space, at the moment it does lack technical and organizational skills. Besides, this concept is still in emerging stages, and it could take some more time to fulfill President Obama’s dream of seeing private enterprise driven spacecrafts, bearing insignia of Coca Cola, Wal-Mart or McDonald’s in outer space.
Paul Bishop is a professional content writer. He writes more than hundreds of articles on several topics with great quality and originality. He has worked in many best essay writing services and still enjoying the profession.