The United States government spends billions of dollars each year on NASA research and development. In fact, NASA has spent nearly over $100 million per day since its inception.
However, SpaceX is a private company that was founded by Elon Musk. They offer low-cost launch services to customers who want to send their satellites into orbit.
SpaceX rockets are also much cheaper to build than those made by the government. When it comes to cost,
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket costs about $60 million, while the most expensive part of a typical NASA rocket is the fuel which can run up to $500 million a pop.
SpaceX’s website states: “We believe that a great nation ought to be able to afford this technology.” So far, so good, but how does SpaceX plan to get around our old friend gravity, and does Nasa help?
Do We Need Nasa If We Have SpaceX?
Before the advent of private aerospace companies, government agencies were responsible for launching things into space.
But that is no longer the case. During the past two decades, startups have shown that they can compete with and sometimes even outdo larger companies.
SpaceX is the most successful of these startups. They land their used rockets to create scenes straight out of science fiction.
Currently, SpaceX is building a giant rocket system that will one day carry people to Mars, becoming the first private company to send astronauts into orbit.
Seeing these incredible feats, you might wonder if we need NASA at all or whether NASA and SpaceX are in competition.
However, in reality, both organizations are very different and rely on each other for success. NASA and SpaceX work together to make space exploration possible.
What Is SpaceX’s Purpose?
SpaceX is a private company under one man’s direction. He is named Elon Musk. SpaceX builds and launches two rockets. Their boosters often return to earth for refurbishment.
This helps them cut costs and undercut their competition’s prices. SpaceX also builds and operates Dragon, a space capsule. It carries crew and cargo to the ISS.
Eventually, SpaceX wants to launch people into orbit. SpaceX also builds and deploys a huge satellite network called Starlink.
These satellites can beam down high-speed internet to everyone in the world. They also cause concern because of the possibility of interfering with astronomy.
What Is NASA’s Purpose?
NASA is a taxpayer-funded US government agency with more than 12 locations around the country. NASA reports to the Executive Branch, and the President appoints its Administrator.
Congress legislates its activities and provides its annual funding. NASA’s budget is set by a political process and isn’t distributed evenly. Nearly half (45%) of NASA’s budget goes towards human space flight programs.
For much of society, the most visible of these programs is the International Space station. A permanently manned space lab in Low Earth Orbit.
NASA is also working towards sending astronauts to the moon and Mars through its Artemis Program.
About a third of NASA’s budget goes to its Science Division, which includes Planetary Science, Earth Science, Astrophysics, and Heliophysics.
NASA sends spacecraft to research and explore planets, study Earth’s climate change, answer fundamental questions about our Universe, and study the sun. NASA does many things, but it mainly studies how to make people happy
Do NASA And SpaceX Compete?
Not really. NASA is a taxpayer-funded entity free to pursue scientific discoveries without financial considerations, whereas SpaceX is a for-profit company.
SpaceX and NASA’s Artemis program are perceived as competitors due to NASA’s Artemis program. After the Space Shuttles were retired in 2004, George W.
Bush announced humans would return to the Moon’s surface. The Space Launch System, or SLS, arose from the creation of the Orion crew capsule and a rocket.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which build Orion and SLS, each use private subcontractors and suppliers. Under NASA guidance, the vehicles are assembled at NASA centers, and the final product belongs to NASA.
Many of these programs create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs in the communities where they are implemented, which is why their local Congressional representatives strongly support them.
SLS and Orion are both over budget and behind schedule. As a result, SpaceX has grown from a small startup into a competitive force in the aerospace industry.
Although SpaceX also frequently misses deadlines, its supporters argue that SLS and Orion are too expensive and rely on outdated technologies that cannot compete with Starship.
Advocates of SLS and Orion stress that the vehicles will allow the United States to launch humans and large payloads into space.
As an example of this, aircraft carriers are still built and owned by the U.S., despite the fact that private companies can also build large cruise ships.
NASA’s position is that Orion and SLS are the best choices for getting humans back to the Moon. In addition, NASA cannot change course without the necessary political support.
In contrast, SpaceX has no one but Elon Musk to answer to and can pursue the development of its Starship in order to fulfill Musk’s goal of sending humans to Mars.
What Role Does NASA Play In SpaceX?
The private spaceflight industry today would be very different without NASA’s investment. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration began
investing in private space companies in 2006 in the hope that they would one day provide cargo and crew transportation to the International Space Station.
It was just four years old when SpaceX became one of the first companies to receive NASA funding. About half of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket’s development cost was covered by NASA.
SpaceX was awarded a multi-billion dollar contract to fly cargo to the International Space Station in 2008. Without NASA, the company would have likely gone bankrupt and run out of money.
Today, SpaceX generates revenue from a variety of customers, but a significant part of its funding comes from launching NASA science spacecraft and carrying crew and cargo to the
International Space Station. The company also launches payloads for the Pentagon, another taxpayer-funded entity.
What Role Does SpaceX Play In NASA?
NASA didn’t have a replacement ready when the shuttle was retired in 2011. It took seven years to get ready.
They were expecting the need for a replacement, but they didn’t receive enough money to do it. Instead, they decided to buy rides on private spaceships instead of building their own.
SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk, who also founded PayPal. He had been working on reusable rockets since 2001.
SpaceX launched its first rocket in 2002. After several years of development, SpaceX successfully sent its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit in 2010.
This first launch marked the start of the Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX began sending supplies to the International Space Station in 2012.
By 2016, SpaceX had become the first American company to carry humans to space. In 2018, SpaceX became the first American company to send people to the Moon.
SpaceX is an American company that provides services to other countries to launch satellites into orbit. It’s been around since 2002. It is a private company that doesn’t do government work.
It’s a great example of how private sector innovation can benefit everyone. SpaceX has renewed the public’s interest in the space industry.
The company uses live streaming technology to make each rocket launch and landing exciting events. Interest in SpaceX’s efforts has inspired new generations to pursue space careers.
But we need NASA. The agency puts people into space, but there is no business case for putting a spacecraft on Pluto and landing a rover on Mars to look for signs of past life, or exploring the cosmos.
We have a moral obligation to do this. And NASA is vastly larger, spending billions of dollars every year on major projects, while SpaceX spends millions of dollars on a select few projects.
Space exploration brings out the best of humanity. When government agencies like Nasa and private companies like SpaceX collaborate, everyone benefits.
- I Can’t See Anything Clearly Through My Telescope – Help! - April 26, 2022
- Astronomy For Beginners – Getting Started Stargazing! - April 26, 2022
- Are Telescopes Easy To Use? - April 26, 2022