Monday, February 01, 2010

NASA, Inc?

We have a magazine exchange here at Video Professor. Once someone has read a magazine, instead of tossing it, they share it.

Digging through the box, I found and read the January 2010 edition of Popular Science. The cover story dealt with the commercialization of space travel.

Several companies led by Richard Branson, uber entrepreneur, and Burt Rutan are offering commercial space travel. Still pricey but the line for flights is a long one.

Meanwhile, NASA fiddles and faddles. NASA is a bad mix of politics and science. As said in the movie “The Right Stuff,” “No bucks, no Buck Rogers.” There also seems to be no direction or definitive goals set for the agency either.

Commercial space vendors are soaring while NASA is running out of shuttles and ideas. Soon we’ll be hitching a ride with the Russians just to get to the space station.

If you have a spare $25 million or so lying around, the Russians will actually fly you to the space station. Not so with NASA. Heaven forbid they actually try and make money from space.

The commercialization of space is nothing new, and it’s creating international partnerships. The television programs you watch are transmitted from satellites launched, in many cases, on American Atlas-Centaur booster packages with Russian Proton motors. Many commercial rockets are transported to Cape Canaveral aboard Russian-designed Antonov AN-124s (think the C-5A Galaxy on steroids) flown by a Ukrainian air transport company.

Do you believe the Cold War is over?

The bottom line is that if you have the cash, you can go into orbit.

Is it time to turn over the space program to private enterprise or for NASA to operate as a for-profit entity? Just think what Apple® or Google™ would be willing to pay to have their logo on the shuttle.

Competition means progress. Competition produces results. Free enterprise does the best job of it.

Space isn’t just for Buck Rogers anymore. It’s for anyone with the bucks to get there. The list grows every day.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at