Monday, May 16, 2011

Space Journalist Legend on Commercial Space


NBC space journalist Jay Barbree

MSNBC.com has a lengthy article by NBC's veteran space journalist Jay Barbree about the pending arrival of commercial crew.

Barbree is the only surviving journalist to have covered every American human space flight.

The article opens:

NASA is retiring its space shuttle fleet, and many are wondering what’s next. Well, tighten your seat belt: The second great space race is about to begin, and it could shave two or three years off astronauts' down time without something American to fly.

The article reviews various commercial space proposals by SpaceX, Boeing, Blue Origin, and Sierra Nevada.

It also lumps in the Liberty proposal by ATK, although NASA failed to award ATK any prize money in the latest commercial crew competition. ATK has no contracts to fly any spacecraft provider on the Liberty rocket.

More importantly, the article notes the benefit of U.S. human space flight having multiple choices for crew vehicles. Barbree concludes:

You can bet it'll be a race to the finish line by the old and the new. And when there are two or more players in a market, the competition cuts costs for the consumers — in this case, NASA and the American taxpayers. All of us end up being the ultimate winners.

Who needs a one horse race?

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