Doubts on Display from Congress during hearing on Private Space

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Several Congressmen expressed doubts about and resistance to the new private space manned effort by companies like SpaceX during hearings today in the House.

Let’s be honest: it’s all about pork and only pork. Unfortunately, the new companies don’t deliver the same kind of pork to the right congressional districts, even if they might deliver a real product faster and for less money. To quote the article:

Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., rallied to the industry’s defense, citing a “hostility” to the private space industry. “Much to my dismay, I see some of the worst elements of decision making,” he said. “I see an anti-commercial-space attitude that could have very negative consequences.” Rohrabacher (who represents a district near SpaceX’s headquarters) seemed to chide Hall and Johnson, the two Texans who chair the panel, for parochial views. “Focusing on one’s own district and directing federal funds seems to be having a major impact on this decision,” he said.

As we anticipated yesterday, there were other regional pleas connected to the word of choice heard in the halls of Congress: jobs. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Mich., for instance, asked how the space contract could be used to create jobs in his district of metropolitan Detroit. The witnesses made the most diplomatic kowtows they could. “I’ve been pushing SpaceX to use more automotive suppliers,” Musk responded. Other space industry execs went on to claim Michigan subcontractors, to praise the auto industry, and to speak of spin-offs from space science programs.



  • Fred Willett

    Despite what the congress critters say NASA needs commercial crew. They will fund it because they must. They have no alternative.
    MPCV might have been the the ideal vehicle for the die hard NASA fans, but it’s too far into the future. It will not fly in time to save NASA’s bacon. If commercial is allowed to fail and MPCV becomes the only option then NASA is effectively grounded for 10 years. NASA won’t let that happen.

  • gaetano marano

    it’s not true that SpaceX has done all these things only with the Musk’s $500M since the total money invested so far (including COTS, CCDev and investors funds) is of OVER $1.2 billion

    despite $1.2 billion isn’t a so cheap amount, SpaceX has developed its vehicles and rockets savings several billion$, from its start, hiring one thousand of very expert and already skilled and well trained NASA and aerospace companies engineers

    the SpaceX results seem “cheap” and a “miracle” also since they have spent $1.2 billion to (just) develop two rocket engines, two rockets and a cargo spacecraft just a bit better and more capable than a russian Progress

    SpaceX isn’t a true “commercial” company since over 70% (and growing) of the money to develop its hardware are government funds and since 90% of its revenues will come from only ONE government customer known as NASA

  • gaetano marano

    4-seats orbital MPCV (with Liberty)

    7(?)-seats crew Dragon

    7-seats DREAMchaser

    7-seats BlueKliper

    7-seats CST-100

    3-seats Soyuz

    7-seats ACTS

    3-seats Shenzhou (if it will be allowed to dock the ISS)

    and only a six-beds space station …

    so, where’s the “market” for ALL these spacecrafts??????

  • Joe2

    “Let’s be honest: it’s all about pork and only pork.”

    So you can read the congessmens minds?

    Is anyone allowed to have an opinion different from yours without having their integrity questioned?

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