SpaceX’s Success Revives the Tradition of Private-Sector Space Science

SpaceX founder Elon Musk at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., following the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station, May 30, 2020. (Bill Ingalls/NASA)
Like many other great advances in the field, it was not government-funded.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S paceflight, which started in the private sector, returned to it recently when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took two astronauts into orbit.

Actually, all powered flight started in the private sector, for the Wright brothers were not government-funded researchers. Rather, they were cycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, who in 1903, in their spare time, transformed the world. A team of full-time government-funded researchers, operating out of the Smithsonian Institution, were then also trying to launch heavier-than-air machines. Even though the Smithsonian team enjoyed a budget that was a hundred times larger than that of the Wrights, its prototypes always crashed. Airplanes are

Terence Kealey, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, is a professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom.

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