Private Sector Edges Deeper in Space
It sounds like a routine event for NASA: At 4:55 a.m. on Saturday, a rocket is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and carry cargo — but no people — to the International Space Station.
But if all goes as planned, that morning will mark something transformative for the space industry: a victory for capitalism in what has been for decades a government-run enterprise. The capsule, built by Space Exploration Technologies Corporation — SpaceX, for short — would be the first commercial spacecraft to make it to the space station, and many observers view its launching as the starting gun in an entrepreneurial race to turn space travel into a profit-making business in which NASA is not necessarily the biggest customer.
Since the end of the space shuttle program, NASA has relied on Russia to take its astronauts to space in Soyuz rockets, but now it is looking to hire commercial companies for space taxi services. So there are incentives for commercial companies both to build the transportation and to offer it at competitive prices. SpaceX, for one, says that it could provide rides to NASA astronauts at $20 million a seat, a third of the Russian price.
La mise en place d’un mécanisme de privatisation de la NASA a été l’un des très (trop) rare bon coup d’Obama.