Space Exploration Should Not be Privatized
CON (3 arguments)
Private companies such as SpaceX have made more progress in the last decade than NASA has since the Moon Landing in 1962. SpaceX has sent rockets to space and brought them back to reuse them again, making a more efficient and cheaper space exploration as they don’t need to pay for new rockets. This, costs less and takes less time than NASA rockets.
A 2011 study conducted by NASA itself, shows that the Falcon 9 rocket launched by SpaceX would have cost much more had it been developed within the confines and culture of NASA. NASA personnel visited SpaceX to learn more about the company's rockets and found that more hardware was either off-the-shelf or derived from the smaller Falcon 1 rocket which made the cost savings through commercialization incredibly dramatic. There was a giant disparity between the privatized model costing $443 million, and the NASA way of doing things costing $1.4 billion. So the smaller, nimbler SpaceX has the demonstrated ability to produce rockets more quickly and cheaply than NASA does. That is no great surprise—NASA is hardly a model of entrepreneurial efficiency.
Furthermore, SpaceX sends rockets to space more frequently than NASA and has strict enough safety procedures to not crash a ship once in space.
We need space exploration to move faster. We can’t wait for things like global warming to grow into an even larger problem and we have no alternative planet for human life. If global warming continues we are going to need a new place to live. Judge, with privatized space exploration we can move faster to achieve this goal.
NASA, SpaceX, The Guardian, New York Times
The US can't afford NASA, since we are in so much debt. The US has a lot of programs and necessities that they need to spend money on. The Military, health care, education - these are more important to our society then NASA. The US is in a debt crisis and private companies are willing to pay for our space program, so we should let them. It’s a win-win. The American people get to save billions from our budget and space exploration continues to benefit mankind. The US is $20 trillion in debt. NASA’s budget continues to be cut because of other costs. The truth is, NASA does not need to get its $18 billion each year. If NASA were to be stopped completely, it would be beneficial to taxpayers, and social programs that need government money. Even now, the United States government does not think that NASA is worth more than about 0.4% of the federal budget. In light of these recent cuts, world-renowned physicist Michio Kaku has said: “Back in 2004, President George W. Bush laid out an ambition plan. The space shuttle was to be phased out this year, and five years later the replacement for the space shuttle would be fully functional and operational. Then, by 2020, the plan was to establish a permanent human presence on the moon, and after that maybe even the planet Mars. But now, forget about it – everything is out the window without money!” Unless we have private funding, we will not be able to reach these goals. Privatised companies can offer things like stock to employees and business partners, making it easier to receive funding and to gain employees. Using an initial public offering they can raise money by issuing either debt or equity which gives the company money. The private sector can also raise money through space tourism that many people are looking forward to. Also, SpaceX wants to explore new territory in space, and have a manned mission to Mars. Meanwhile, NASA has had a hard time just trying to get the funding they need and the ships they send out are going to the International Space Station, making no new progress.
Judge, how can NASA do anything good if the US is cutting its budgets every year? Space exploration needs to be privatized so that the burden of paying for space travel does not land on the government and taxpayers.
Asteroid mining could save our planet. Resources would be harvested from asteroids, moons, and even small planets, rather than the ground below our feet. Private companies have already been approved by our government to try and mine asteroids for precious metals, water and fuels that we need here on earth. Also, SpaceX reuses rockets unlike NASA which builds a new rocket each time it launches and this uses many toxic chemicals and gases that are released into the atmosphere. The technology used by private company rockets is better for the environment than the outdated technology and fuel used by NASA.
By harvesting resources in space we could halt some of the most environmentally damaging practices, from burning fossil fuels to mining for metals. It might be our best chance to save natural environments here on Earth. Also, mining fuel from asteroids could make long-distance space travel both affordable and sustainable. The costs of space travel increase exponentially the farther you go. This is one of the few remaining barriers to long-distance space travel. Asteroid mining avoids these exponential costs by sourcing resources like fuel, water, and oxygen—as well as raw materials for construction—directly from space.
Also - NASA doesn't reuse rockets the way SpaceX does. Why? Because reusable rockets are only valuable if the frequency of launches is great enough to outweigh the cost of developing and utilizing the technology. And NASA doesn’t launch frequently enough to make reusable rockets. Thus, NASA has to build a rocket every time it wants to launch and this uses an incredible amount of toxic metals. Solid-fuel rockets are the biggest source of rocket pollutants that can harm the atmosphere. They can break down ozone, a form of oxygen that protects the earth from harmful solar radiation. The United States uses more solid rockets than any other nation, including the powerful boosters that propel the space shuttle and the giant, unmanned Titan 4 launcher. NASA itself estimates that each space shuttle flight deposits about 75 tons of chlorine into the ozone layer. In contrast, SpaceX rockets use liquid fuel.
Deep Space Industries, a private company, is building autonomous spacecraft that can extract materials from asteroids. It expects to launch its first experimental mission in 2017. Planetary Resources – a company backed by Google’s Larry Page, is also developing technology that will allow it to begin exploring asteroids starting around the year 2020. What’s out there worth mining? Every element known to mankind, in virtually infinite amounts. The impact of allowing private companies to explore space for precious resources that we are running out of on Earth cannot be overstated. In addition, the way SpaceX reuses its rockets is more friendly to the environment than the old NASA way of building new rockets for each launch. If we use private companies for space exploration, we will reduce global warming and save our planet, while accelerating our ability to colonize other planets.
NASA; New York Times; Science website How We Get to Next; Forbes Magazine