Washington Bubble fights back against Capitalism in Space

The response to my policy paper, Capitalism in Space, has been not surprisingly mixed. Eric Berger at Ars Technica wrote a reasonable analysis that focused on the absurdly high overhead costs of SLS/Orion. There have also been a number of critical reviews, one in Forbes and a second today in the print edition of Space News.

Both have tried to discredit the facts I have put forth about the ungodly cost of SLS/Orion, when compared to commercial space, without actually citing any incorrect facts in my paper. The truth is that everything I have written is true. This graph from my paper remains fundamental:

Table 5 from Capitalism in Space

SLS/Orion is costing four times as much, is taking more than twice as long to build, and is producing one tenth the operational flights. It is essentially a pork-laden jobs program that has no ability to get the United States anywhere in space. It might be an engineering marvel, but the cost is so high and its operational abilities so slow (one flight per year, at best) that it will never be a reliable and effective tool for exploring the solar system.

Meanwhile, private enterprise is getting innovative new rockets off the ground, for far less money, and repeatedly. If we want to settle the solar system, they are providing us the only viable way to do it.

People must recognize that these attacks are essentially the bubble of Washington working to protect its financial and intellectual interests. A lot of people in DC depend on keeping the faucet of government spending flowing to SLS/Orion, even if those projects accomplish nothing. In the case of the attacks from academics, they don’t like the fact that I am an outsider and not beholden to them. Moreover, they are instinctively appalled by the idea of allowing capitalism and freedom to operate freely, without their guiding hands controlling things. Such thoughts must be attacked and squelched (if possible), in order to protect their interests.

That they don’t seem to care that much about the interests of the American people and the country is quite revealing however. As some have said repeatedly, this is how you got Trump.

Capitalism in Space to be released early next week

After several months of delay for a variety of reasons that I do not need to go into, my policy paper for the Center of New American Security has gone to the printers will be released to the public early next week. The title: Capitalism in Space: Private Enterprise and Competition Reshape the Global Aerospace Launch Industry.

I will have the pdf of this paper available here on Behind the Black the instant it is available. To give everyone a taste, here are my concluding words:

A close look at these recommendations will reveal one common thread. Each is focused on shifting power and regulatory authority away from the federal government and increasing the freedom of American companies to act as they see fit to meet the demands of the market. The key word that defines this common thread is freedom, a fundamental principle that has been aspired to since the nation’s founding. Political leaders from both parties have made the concept a central core tenet of American policy. Democrat John Kennedy stated that his commitment to go to the Moon was a “stand for freedom” in the Cold War. Republican Ronald Reagan proposed “Freedom” as the name for the new space station, and viewed it as a platform for promoting private enterprise in space.

Freedom is actually a very simple idea. Give people and companies the freedom to act, in a competitive environment that encourages intelligent and wise action, and they will respond intelligently and wisely.

The United States’ history proves that freedom can work. It is time that it prove it again, in space.