Aviation Week & Space Technology

Podcast: SpaceX’s Road to Recovery

Discuss this Video 2

on Dec 19, 2016

The question to be asked is why are those companies present?
Wasn't it the original Nasa's task to do the exact thing of those companies?
Why if so NASA still exists?
Why does tax payers pay twice?
Once for NASA and the other for the companies?

on Dec 19, 2016

Let me address those questions one at a time aalexander.

"The question to be asked is why are those companies present?"

Section 3 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 transferred all responsibilities of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics to NASA. The NACA was created to promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. As such it contributed immensely to the development of aviation.

Section 102 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 gave a broad mandate to NASA which included space operations but also:
(c) The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:

(1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;
(2) The improvement of the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical and space vehicles;
(3) The development and operation of vehicles capable of carrying instruments, equipment, supplies and living organisms through space;

Nowhere doe it say NASA shall be the operator, rather it may be or it need only contribute materially to.

The essential basic research has been done and now we are trying to see how much private businesses may accomplish rather than have a government monopoly.

"Wasn't it the original Nasa's task to do the exact thing of those companies?"

Originally, yes. But not forever in all ways.

"Why if so NASA still exists?"

Because many of the objectives of Section 102 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 are not adaptable to private enterprise, for example Section 102 (c) ( 1) (2) (4) (5) (6) (7) & (8). Now we are changing the scope of (3), but expect scientific launches and probes, even many ISS experiments to usually be NASA.

"Why does tax payers pay twice? Once for NASA and the other for the companies?"

The taxpayer only pays once. When SpaceX flies a private payload the taxpayer does not pick up the tab as the taxpayer partially did when he subsidized the Shuttle.

It is the American way of dividing or mixing government and business.

For example we tend to subsidize when necessary as we did in developing the transcontinental railroads. We provide as necessary to develop commerce. For example interstate highways or our aids to nautical and aeronautical navigation.

The government built the Panama Canal because there was no way business could have managed the capital investment. Indeed until it was turned over to Panama the US government operated it as a socialist enterprise.

We never had National airlines as the Soviet Union had one in Aeroflot. We did give significant subsidies in the form of airmail contracts to airlines and even subsidize service to small cities today.

All a matter of "providing for the general welfare" as put forth in the preamble of the Constitution and as provided by the Commerce clause.

The changing role of NASA is appropriate to the agencies mandate and the practices of the USA.

Please or Register to post comments.

Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×