In the Cold War era, the space agency had full financial support and meticulously oversaw industrial contracts, whereas the current approach places trust in the power of America’s robust market economy.
This week, a private company based in Houston is preparing to lead a mission to the Moon, which will be America’s first lunar landing since the Apollo era ended fifty years ago.
Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C spaceship will launch on Wednesday, riding on a SpaceX rocket, putting their reputation on the line after recent successful landings by China, India, and Japan. This raises the question of why NASA is entrusting these tasks to the commercial sector, especially after a recent failure by Astrobotic, another company with similar goals.
The answer lies in NASA’s reorganization for the Artemis program, where they have shifted their focus to the market economy to achieve breakthroughs at a much lower cost than before. In the past, NASA managed all aspects of space missions, but now they rely on the power of the American market to drive innovation.
The success of SpaceX has sparked a focus on young companies in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, following the example set by SpaceX’s rise from being criticized in its early stages to now being considered NASA’s preferred contractor.
This shift in focus is in line with NASA’s strategy of prioritizing cost-effective approaches and taking more attempts at achieving success. According to Scott Pace, a former member of the National Space Council, SpaceX’s current reliability is a result of learning from their mistakes and experiencing failures along the way.
Since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, SpaceX is the only company capable of launching astronauts from American soil, having surpassed aerospace giant Boeing in certifying its system first. This competition between companies offering different options has demonstrated its value to experts.
Moving forward to Artemis
Casey Dreier from the nonprofit Planetary Society estimated that NASA was granted a sum exceeding $300 billion for the Apollo era, a significantly larger amount compared to the projected $93 billion expected to be invested in Artemis by 2025.
For more information visit at www.happenrecently.com