Capitalism in space? Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist/Democrat-Vermont) has submitted a new amendment to the new NASA authorization bill, now being debated in the Senate, that eliminates the earlier changes added by senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) that required NASA to award a contract to a second company for building its manned lunar lander.
This earlier amendment, submitted by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), modified NASA’s Artemis Program. Cantwell’s amendment, in part, called for $10.03 billion in additional funding for NASA to carry out the Human Landing System program. This legislation was filed as Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos were urging Congress to add $10 billion to NASA’s budget—enough money to fully fund the development of a second Human Landing System. It was passed 11 days ago without any debate by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Sanders’ terse amendment seeks to excise the Cantwell language that provides additional funding for a Human Landing System.
While Sanders’ amendment probably makes more sense based on the money that Congress has actually appropriated for this task, he didn’t do it for that reason. More likely he did it as a petty attack on Jeff Bezos, whose company Blue Origin was likely expected to win that second contract.
Nothing is settled yet of course. The bill still has to pass the Senate and also be approved by the House, then signed by the president. Much will change before then.
Regardless, isn’t nice how NASA’s modern space effort is so well designed by our senators and congressmen? What would we do without them?
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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