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NASA Space Science

NASA's Commercial Plans for Kennedy Space Center 106

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the free-tang-for-everyone dept.
coondoggie writes "Whether or not NASA launches two or three more shuttle missions, NASA's venerable hub of operations, the Kennedy Space Center will need a new mission. That's why NASA today said it was looking to morph the center's unique space rocket facilities into a new more commercial role after the shuttles stop flying. While its facilities would likely rise far above others, NASA could find some competition in any commercial launch venture."
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NASA's Commercial Plans for Kennedy Space Center

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  • Rust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by emkyooess (1551693) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:44PM (#34998388)

    Hopefully they don't intend it to continue on simply as a history tourist attraction. When I visited last summer, the "rocket garden" left me sad. Everything was terribly rusted and so on.

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:08PM (#34998724)

    It's a shame that NASA has to play into commercialism to stay afloat. Back in the 60's when we were racing to the moon NASA got all the money they needed, but once that was won the well dried up. Like Tom Hanks said in Apollo 13 answering a question about why funding should continue after having already beaten the Russians: Imagine if Christopher Columbus came back from the New World, and no one returned in his footsteps.

    NASA needs a new mission alright, but it needs to include more trips into space and not selling toy shuttles and rides on roller coasters.

  • Re:Sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:54PM (#34999310)

    You're misinterpreting what commercial space transport means. It doesn't mean that NASA tries to sell what it has to any millionaire looking for a joy ride.

    What it means is that rather than designing and using one-off vehicles for its own uses, NASA will instead try to purchase launches from commercial companies where possible. It already does this in fact -- all unmanned NASA missions, as well as all DOD missions, are launched on commercially acquired Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, mostly purchased from ULA (i.e. Lockheed/Boeing). Now it is just moving a step further and providing a framework to do the same thing for manned spacecraft. In addition to reducing the abuses inherent to cost-plus contracts, it also opens up some reduced savings by letting other customers subsidize the development costs. For other customers, don't let the 'space tourism' thing get you down. While there may be some of that, the most likely 'other customers' would be other countries looking to do their own research without being as dependent on the whims of NASA.

    NASA will continue to be on the forefront of exploration for the near future, funding missions and designing the hardware to do what hasn't been done before. What the commercialization proposals do is try and make the first step (getting to LEO) a little cheaper. Going with your Columbus analogy, he didn't have to design and build the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria himself, he bought them with the funds provided by the crown, and we can hope this provides NASA with the same opportunity.

  • Re:Rust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @05:09PM (#34999518)

    Maybe it was meant to be symbolic of the agency itself.

    I mean, let's face it, man may one day set foot on Mars. But the odds that he'll be wearing a NASA patch on his suit has been dropping pretty steadily ever since the early 70's.

  • Re:Sad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:09PM (#35000292)

    It has more to do with NASA's shifting its focus from space exploration and science to race quotas and muslim outreach.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=nasa+muslim+outreach&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&safe=active

    Stop acting like NASA has been choked of funding.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget

    The Air Force is getting it done now because they can do it without as much left-wing drag.

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