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Private Contractors in Space

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
NASA proposes out sourcing ISS resupply flights . I have been afraid of allowing the private sector to get too far into space, but I wonder if it is not only inevitable, but maybe even desirable. The prospect of unloading "menial" work like ISS resupply missions onto the private sector may free up government funds for the big missions like going back to the moon or getting to Mars. Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society, has pushed for the involvement of private companies for years, but in the role of innovators. Like the X-prize, he champions the idea of putting up public money for private companies to compete for. The idea is that it will foster innovation. I like the idea of Boeing and Lockheed/Martin being pushed by small aerospace firms. Perhaps this is what the space program needs to get it's collective butt in gear?
post #2 of 11
PRobably as succesful as in Iraq
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post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
PRobably as succesful as in Iraq

While I tend to agree that unregulated or self-regulated business creates for-profit enterprises at the expense of ethical reasoning, I also think that this sort of outsourcing gets around such issues because NASA has to approve the mission...
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post #4 of 11
The capsule crashes into the solar panels of the ISS. Whos responsibility is it?
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
The capsule crashes into the solar panels of the ISS. Whos responsibility is it?

I would think that liability in all its forms would be spelled out in the terms of the contract that is signed between the firm and the government. Then the firm would likely insure its liability with a 3rd party insurer.

Still though, your point is well taken. There are numerous other examples of government outsourcing important work to the private sector. The Postal Service uses airlines to ship some of the mail. FedEx and UPS are responsible for military logistical support. Communications companies provide services to different government agencies. Any or all of these carry potential for disaster if something goes wrong.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
The capsule crashes into the solar panels of the ISS. Whos responsibility is it?

I'd imagine any space company would be regulated up the bung-hole. There are so many incentives to go to space and so few counterincentives.

The reason the contractors in Iraq are unregulated is because it's the guv's way of incentivizing an otherwise bleak business opportunity.

--B
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post #7 of 11
The private corps we'd be taking about are more like the bureaus of a communist state than truly independent private firm. They're undoubtedly the same folks who already handle most NASA contracts.
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post #8 of 11
One word: Rutan

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
One word: Rutan

Exactly. The reason they are succesful is beacuse they can take all the chances they are prepared to risk their own lifes on. Thats not good enough.

On another note: Thats frikking awesome
"I reject your reality and substitute it with my own" - President Bush
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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally posted by Anders
Exactly. The reason they are succesful is beacuse they can take all the chances they are prepared to risk their own lifes on. Thats not good enough.

On another note: Thats frikking awesome

I know, I've seen some of those at Boeing -- pretty impressive.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #11 of 11
I don't see what's the big deal. Consider that most satellites put into orbit these days seem to be private comm-sats that ride on Russian boosters purchased and administered by the comapny Sea Launch.
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