Exploring The Motivations Of Private And Private Space Agencies Essay

Exploring The Motivations Of Private And Private Space Agencies Essay

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In the 1950s, during the cold war the US and USSR competed for supremacy in space exploration. It was considered a necessity for national security and to show the technological superiority of their country (Wikipedia, 2016). Since then space exploration has been predominantly dominated by public agencies like NASA, ROSCOSMOS, and ISRO. Recently, the 21st century has seen a radical change in the scenario. Private space agencies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have started to compete and collaborate with public space agencies. This essay attempts to understand the motivations that drive public and private space agencies to invest in space exploration which seems to have no immediate beneficial outcome. It also tries to find the key differences in the motivations of private and public agencies using a case study of NASA and SpaceX. First the direct and indirect economic motivations of the two agencies are considered. This is followed by how the motivations for engineering the spacecraft are different. This is followed by how they are motivated from matters of interest to the state. Finally, normative aspects of motivations for space research are considered.
NASA’s annual budget is $19.3 billion in 2016 (Wikipedia, 2016). Is this cost justified when there are currently lot of issues present on Earth? In contrast people in America spend $154 billion a year on alcohol and around $10 billion a month is spent my America in Iraq (Dubner, 2016). But are there any economic benefits in the long term? The U.S. economy receives around $8 of economic benefit for every dollar invested in space research through technological advancements (Dubner, 2016). This is visible in technologies used on a daily basis like GPS, Google Earth, weather forecasti...


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...ate an image in society about the importance of space exploration and its fascination. This leads to sustainability of the space programs in the future since people who are interested will want to continue with space exploration. The spin-off developments in technologies have led to an easier lifestyle for members of society. It also creates a sense of unity in the society. When people see the Earth as a whole from outside or when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, everyone feels united. All these results present strong reasons for the state to keep investing in public space research.
Meanwhile SpaceX do not have the interests of the state in their mind. They still have an impact on society but it is not a motivator for their operations. They are focused only on their primary goal of colonizing mars and making cheaper and efficient space travel.
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