posted on Jul, 27 2005 @ 11:51 AM
Politics is definately the problem with NASA.
I doubt you can say JFK was the "great thinker" people label him. He was fighting the cold war and NASA and the moon were "POLITICAL" tools for
him not some great intellectual challenge. I like the benefit we got from it, but don't confuse cold war politics with real desires for progress. In
fact I can't name a US president that had anything other than just his "legacy" in mind while in office. Any great technical challenge since WWII
has been politicaly influenced.
Let the Chinese start construction on a moon base. See if whoever is president at the time doesn't suddenly find a need to "challenge" NASA. NASA
is a government agency so therefore it is subject to the politics of the time.
I believe that the next really "BIG" thing in space travel will be privately funded. Several of the world's wealthiest men (Branson, Allen, etc.)
are scrambling to position themselves for what might be the game of the century, cheap access to space for companies and individuals. Cheap satellite
lauches and reletively cheap space tourism. That's where the excitement is. I feel that even some of the scientific programs at NASA will get farmed
out to private companies in the near future.
There is a downside, though, to all this private space racing.
Las Vegas Mercury
Few journalists have been allowed inside the secure confines of the 50-acre "space campus" Bigelow Aerospace has built in North Las Vegas, and with
good reason. Bigelow has long shunned any kind of publicity for himself, and since he is investing up to $500 million of his personal fortune into the
aerospace company, he's reluctant to give away too much information to potential competitors. It's the same reason his facility is surrounded by
fences, gates, cameras and an imposing security force made up of ex-military types.
The company's website
Branson is hoping to have Virgin Glactic up and running by 2010. That's less then 5 years away! He's already dumped a ton of money into Burt
Rutan's SpaceShip 1, and Scaled Composites is building the fleet.