NASA Contracts Further With Private Firms

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SpaceX and Blue Origin Are Just the Tips of the Iceberg

Elon Musk's head photoshopped over the famous Putin on a horse picture.

Now THAT’s sexy!

SpaceX is a sexy company. So is Blue Origin. I can’t speak to either founder’s sexiness, but both Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos make great headlines. The bigger story here, though, is the fourteen NASA contracts that were awarded to other private space contractors, including some small ones. These contracts have the potential to change the course of human space exploration. But they could also boost the economies of several communities throughout the country. 

NASA gave out 19 total contracts, two of which went to SpaceX. Three of the contracts went to Blue Origin. The remainder of the NASA contracts were split between other aerospace giants like Lockheed Martin and smaller firms such as Advanced Space of Boulder CO

These Contracts Make NASA’s Public-Private Partnership a Lot More Intimate.

It’s no secret that NASA has partnered with companies like SpaceX and Boeing to build the spacecraft that will get us back to the Moon and eventually to Mars. The new contracts take those partnerships and new ones into a much more collaborative realm. Specifically, they allow private firms access to NASA facilities. Also, teams from the corporate sector will likely work side by side with NASA engineers to develop their specific projects. You can read the full NASA press release here.

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New NASA Contracts Are a Response to Shortened Artemis Deadline

This spring Vice President Mike Pence announced that he was going shaving four years off of NASA’s deadline for the Artemis mission. Artemis’ goal is to land Americans on the moon again (including the first woman) by 2024 and to build a permanent, sustainable base on the lunar south pole.

Both the President and Vice President have been publicly hard on their pick to head up NASA, Jim Bridenstine.  Pence’s announcement was a blatant threat to the jobs of everyone at NASA and the current contractors. He threatened that if they couldn’t get it done, the administration would find someone who could. Then there was the idiotic Trump Tweet (as if they’re not all idiotic) a few weeks ago which contradicted itself and chastized NASA for talking about the moon. Finally, when the President met with the Apollo 11 astronauts last week, he made a point to attack Bridenstine right there, saying that choosing the former Oklahoma Rep wasn’t an easy decision. 

Nevertheless, Bridenstine soldiers on. He shook up the leadership a few weeks back. Then today, he announced an unprecedented level of public-private space cooperation. There are many advantages of the plan Bridenstine has to partner and work more closely with private contractors. For one thing, direct access to proven test facilities and NASA engineers will help speed up research and development. For another, the influx of capital into the communities impacted by these new projects will help those local economies by creating jobs.  

Watch Below As Bridentstine Explains Artemis Phase One:

The Moon is an important proving ground for the technologies that will eventually get us to Mars. Unfortunately, the President doesn’t seem to understand that at all. And the Vice President wants things done before the end of a potential second Trump term. NASA needs to concern itself more with safety than a rush, however. These partnerships may be just the ticket to help ensure both a speedy and safe journey to the Moon, then to Mars.

Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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