NASA announces “the return of human spaceflight launches to the USA”




So, like, right now.

2017 launches back in the US. Talk of Mars landings.

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Boeing or SpaceX?



Each provides critical parts of the puzzle for NASA: SpaceX provides rockets and spacecraft for NASA’s operational needs, while Boeing provides critical funds for constructing summer homes for important Senators.


Boeing: Founded in 1916
SpaceX: Founded in 2002

In 12 years SpaceX took on a company that has been around for nearly 100. I feel like they’ll do more with their cut than the double that Boeing received.


Well, now that we’ve overcome poverty, the failings of education, any shortcomings in medical care, and war itself, why not?

“The greatest nation on Earth …”

The most modest too, apparently.


The amount money which goes into the last thing in your list vastly dwarfs the amount which goes into all the other things in that list and space exploration combined.


The cool thing about that argument is that it can be used to trivialize everything. Why fight poverty when there is war? Why demonstrate for womens’ rights when black people are oppressed? This one weird trick has been used to keep liberals chasing their tails for decades.


2017 may be too long. Russia is threatening to move part of the Soyuz certification training to Crimea.


So $2.6B to do real space travel and $4.2 billion for graft and corruption. We should just cut out the Boeing part and give half of the $4.2B to SpaceX and get something useful.


While a return to manned space flight is a good thing, I’m really disappointed that this announcement is about how another public program is getting privatized.


As space launch has been gradually commercialized, it is becoming a commodity. NASA made, I think, a really good decision to get out of a field where they would no longer be able to compete anyway, and focus on being a primarily scientific agency.


I’m not sure about how much the posters in this thread actually know about the history of aeronautics and space exploration over the past 50 years, but being so completely trivializing of Boeing belies a level of cynicism and lack of knowledge of their place in these industries it’s just kind of silly. I’m not going to argue about the “pork” aspect of them as a company, and the other prime contractors like them, that is all true (it also does create jobs at the end of the day, and the Keynesian in me is not totally against this), but they do have significant resources to bring to bear on US space flight goals, AND I think it’s a wonderful thing that the US will have two vendors it can work with in this area and not be totally reliant on just one – not a bad thing.


Private contracting has always been totally embedded in the US space program, last time I checked. You know how many contractors are running around NASA Goddard, the JPL, etc.? A lot. There is much to criticize int he way the US government handles procurement both in general and specifically, but as a guy who works for a company as a contractor for the Federal government and is not only exceptionally proud of my team, but knows that we are way better at what we do than any governmental employee I’ve ever met, I’m not as diametrically opposed to the idea that some aspects of GOV are being handled by contractors.


The Space Shuttle Orbiter was built by Rockwell Collins.

The Apollo Lunar Module was built by Grumman, the Command and Service Modules by North American (now Boeing).

McDonnell (also now Boeing) built the Gemini and Mercury spacecraft.

Not seeing the reason to object to private business this time around.


Just a reminder about Boeing and “competitive” government contracts:

SpaceX may not necessarily win this battle. The company previously sued Boeing in 2005 on related allegations of anticompetitive practices—that case was dismissed the following year, and the ruling was upheld on appeal.

Yes, but excellent space age PR created the impression that the whole space program was all NASA, all the time.


Perhaps this will clarify things a bit.

From Commercial Crew Program - The Essentials:

How NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is Different

NASA’s Prior Approach for Obtaining Crew Transportation Systems:

· NASA devised requirements for a crew transportation system that would carry astronauts into orbit, then the agency’s engineers and specialists oversaw every development aspect of the spacecraft, its support systems and operations plans.
· An aerospace contractor was hired to build the crew transportation system to the design criteria and the standards NASA furnished.
· NASA personnel were deeply involved in the processing, testing, launching and operation of the crew transportation system to ensure safety and reliability. The space agency owned the spacecraft and its operating infrastructure.
· Every spacecraft built for humans, from Mercury to Gemini and Apollo to the space shuttle and American section of the International Space Station, was built and operated using this

Commercial Crew’s Approach for Obtaining Crew Transportation Systems

· NASA’s engineers and aerospace specialists work closely with companies to develop crew transportation systems that can safely, reliably and cost-effectively carry humans to low-Earth orbit, including the International Space Station, and return safely to Earth.
· Interested companies are free to design the transportation system they think is best. For the contracts phase of development and certification, each company must meet NASA’s pre-determined set of requirements.
· The companies are encouraged to apply their most efficient and effective manufacturing and business operating techniques throughout the process.
· The companies own and operate their own spacecraft and infrastructure.
· The partnership approach allows NASA engineers insight into a company’s development process while the agency’s technical expertise and resources are accessible to a company.

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