SpaceX Gets The OK To Launch Satellites For The Government
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If he wasn’t before, Tesla’s Elon Musk is now undoubtedly the real life Tony Stark. He’s a larger than life figure on the tech and transport scene and he even exists as a Simpson’s character. Now, SpaceX, his aerospace manufacturing and transport company, has just received clearance to launch satellites for the government.
The US Air Force Secretary, Deborah Lee James, published a statement saying “SpaceX’s emergence as a viable commercial launch provider provides the opportunity to compete launch services for the first time in almost a decade.” Using classic American logic, she went on to say “leveraging of the commercial space market drives down cost to the American taxpayer and improves our military’s resiliency.” That last sentence brought a red, white, and blue tear to my eye.
In this incredible development, Musk’s company has ended the United Launch Association’s (comprised of Boeing and Lockheed Martin) monopoly on government launches.
After winning the lawsuit, SpaceX had to engage in a series of exercises of Herculean magnitude to demonstrate its prowess. Its Falcon 9 rocket (already part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to send materials to the International Space Station), had to complete 3 flight demonstrations, and thousands of other tasks and audits. This process set the Air Force back $60 million while launching SpaceX into the forefront military space technology.
Currently SpaceX is the only company apart from the ULA to have certification to launch military satellites.
Speaking of NASA, the institution which has historically been embroiled in conflict with the government over funding as again received a tremendous decrease in its funding, particularly in earth studies and education. Why? Because America, that’s why.
This piece of news is good for the taxpayer; the ULA can no longer charge whatever it wants for satellite launches. However, the already financially weakened NASA has taken yet another hit as a result of the government’s love for privatized companies.
Education and early awareness are crucial if the United States desires to invest in its future as an international superpower. If children do not receive an adequate education in their early years, the will not be equipped with the facilities to become engineers with innovative capacities.
Celebrate the fall of a monopoly today, but remember to invest in our children’s future not only for the sake of the United States’ place on the world stage, but also so that they learn to become stewards of their planet.