Capitalism in space: NASA last week announced that it is looking for private companies to build spacesuits and other spacewalk equipment that the agency can buy.
In a request for information (RFI) published April 14, NASA revealed that it is looking for feedback from the space sector on its newly updated strategy to work with commercial partners in space. In this new strategy, NASA is looking to collaborate more with commercial partners in developing, building and maintaining technology for spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVAs), including spacesuits, the agency said in a statement.
Under this new strategy, the agency will be “shifting acquisition of the exploration extravehicular activity (xEVA) system to a model in which NASA will purchase spacesuit services from commercial partners rather than building them in-house with traditional government contracts,” the statement reads.
This request, issued only days prior to the award of the lunar lander contract to SpaceX, continues the shift at NASA from running things like the Soviet Union, where everything is designed, built, and owned by the government, to the traditional American model of capitalism and free enterprise, where the governement is merely the customer that gets what it needs from the private sector.
The timing also suggests that NASA’s management wants to firm up this shift prior to the arrival of big government guy, former senator and Democrat Bill Nelson, who is undergoing his confirmation hearing today as NASA administrator.
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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