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Should NASA be privatized?

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posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 06:57 AM
Should NASA be privatized? Or should Space Exploration be tendered to various private space organisations.

Every time a government agency or broadcasting company needs to put a satellite in orbit they turn to NASA. Why?

Is each mission put out to tender to the cheapest bidder? Why does NASA always get the business? I believe, and I’m no expert, that NASA deliberately undercuts the private sector to ensure no commercialism of Space.

My question is this: Should we be exploiting Space? Should we allow private companies to go into Space and find and exploit the resources found on the likes of the Moon?

The billions spent on NASA missions each year and what have they got to show for it? We haven’t been back to the Moon, we are still at least 30 years away from a manned mission to Mars, the International Space Station is fast becoming an expensive joke, and we haven’t had anything back from Space that we can use.

My belief is that NASA should concentrate on the exploration of Space, and turn over all other operations to the private sector Space companies. This, I believe, would make better use of their budget, and allow us to find new resources. So what if a few make some money out of launching satellites or mining the Moon or Mars. I think that if the exploration of Mars was left to the private sector, we’d be there by now.

NASA then would not be short of money, and would not cut corners on their missions. Private companies would invest huge sums of money into getting into Space, as they would see their return in the long run.

What would privatization of NASA, or the exploitation of Space lead to? Would we be looking at conflict in Space between private Space Soldiers hired by these private Space Companies? Would Governments become involved, how long would it take for these Private Space Companies to become under the control of their government?

I say let the Space Race begin, take the shackles off lets see how far we can go, and what we will discover.

What do you think?


posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 10:06 AM
I've read a few articles on this subject on various websites ( is one I remember), and in New Scientist, and the majority of views were "yes, NASA should be partly privatised". Having read the arguments, I'd have to agree.

The reasoning is that NASA just cannot take risks. The days of the 1950s & 60s when NASA was taking risks (Apollo was one hell of a risk) are gone. The US government (and its the same in Europe with ESA, or Japan with JAXA) just cannot take risks with public money - thats why we've never been back to the moon - the money NASA does get cannot be risked on manned exploration, for if anything major happens, they will lose the budget. If a robot fails, no biggie (not as big as losing a manned mission to Mars anyway).

What I feel should happen is that ALL national space agencies merge under the umbrella of the UN. All research should be carried out in this enlarged organisation, which would be able to pool budgets and manpower into something truly awesome (take ESA as an example of a multi-national organisation - alone, the UK wouldn't be able to do very much space research, but jointly, Europe will be able to carry out quite sophisticated missions, due to the joint budget).

At the same time, this new multi-national space agency should provide support to private organisations to do all the risky stuff. Support could range from launch facilities, sharing technologies for launchers, manned craft... All for a licence fee of course

Private organisations can take risks with their own money. Thats business right? And the rewards for private investment are potentially HUGE - the chap who owns is a well known space enthusiast, and has his own company (SpaceX) - I've also heard Larry Ellison of Oracle is also a known space enthusiast - the oil/mining companies would have reason to explore asteroids & the moon for minerals. Its all there for the taking.

It could lead to a new era of exploration, not seen since the Vikings, Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Colombus or Francis Drake.

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 12:52 PM

I wanted to leave it at just "yes", but there are rules against such replies. Even though that sums up how I feel about this 100%

I think NASA's performance and productivity would jump leaps and bounds if it were privatly run. Why? No job sercurity in privatly run firms, and waaaaay too much security in government jobs.

In a private company, the tighter the budget and deadlines are, the performance of its people adapt to make it work (or else). In government work, there is no incentive to be lean and efficient.

Also liability. Private firms face MUCH harsher liability than the government does. After all, how many people lost their jobs over Challenger?

And to bottom line this: If its private then its about money and nothing but money. And when a companies (read: sharholders) money is on the line, things get done.

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 02:57 PM
I don't think the entire agency should be privatized, I would like to see NASA reinvent itself into a DARPA like agency for space travel focusing on farout ideas and technologies as well as actually running the various unmanned probes and whatnot currently out there right now. For everything else NASA does like ISS operation and other manned endevors it should be privatized.

[edit on 25-1-2006 by sardion2000]

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 05:14 PM
No way.

No private company has the resources of a Nation to work with. Without those resources, space is a no-go. Because settlement and exploration require massive long-term commitment with little short-term gain.

If anything, we need a bigger government NASA: a UN one.

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 01:28 AM
Are you kidding?

NASA has a huge budget in order to operate.

What collection of private companies can or would want to afford such a risk?

Would the contractors who build the rockets and various key components to launch allow such a thing to happen or even the fed? Remember, these companies that make the rockets and everything else would no longer be recieving billions from NASA, it would be their own money on the cutting board.

It'd be nice to see NASA steer clear of any manned moon mission talk and focus on the robotic exploration.

Originally posted by skippytjc And when a companies (read: sharholders) money is on the line, things get done.

Much like Enron and a host of other (non)-Fortune 500 companies.

[edit on 26-1-2006 by Frosty]

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 01:51 AM
This isnt 1984

Private companies already have the option to use people beside NASA for their satellite needs. The 1984 Commercial Space Launch Act enabled an industry of private operators of expendable launch systems. Prior to that yes all commercial satellite launches were limited to going through NASA. But thats the case no more.

you can use


-EADS SPACE Transportation (Prime Contractor of Ariane 5)

-Orbital Sciences Corporation

All private satellite launch organizations

You can even go to Russia for all your commercial satellite needs or a number of other countries if you got the cash.

Private space org. will take off when they can start mining the near limitless resources on the galaxy and make a profit doing so. There are metals in asteroids in our own solar system worth more then the Whole of the US.

All of NASA best projects have little to no profit making potential and would never been done if NASA was a Private Org. How much profits you going to make off Hubble or riding rovers on Mars or collecting comet dust?

I would have to say not much. Yet these projects helps us learn so much about the Galaxy.

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 08:07 AM
I definately believe that parts of NASA should be privatized. NASA would concentrate on the science, and the private firms would look after the rest.

If this did happen, who would police Space? Would the likes of the NSA be responsible for this? Who would monitor the goings on in Space?

I think that those private firms who are the first to get their private enterprises up and running in Space, will make so much money. Just think, if you had several companies looking for valuable resources on the Moon. The Moon would be closely scrutinised very quickly, and all this talk of Alien Bases would be put to bed once and for all. Same goes for Mars.

Ok....what if NASA was brought under the umbrella of the NSA? Money would then come from the Black budget, NASA would be able to scrutinise finds privately before going public. The NSA could provide the security that NASA would need, therefore more joint research could be done that would benefit the World and the US intelligence and military community.

Would this be a solution? Instead of Commercialising Space, bring NASA under the security of the NSA....unlimited funds to do whaever they wanted without being publicly scrutinised at every turn.

What do you people think?

posted on Jan, 26 2006 @ 11:31 AM
NASA shouldn't be privatized, it would lead to an industry with no regulations (nobody has control over space) and NASA inspects all satelites before launch. if NASA was privatized it would become about sending up satelites, and nothing more.

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