Private Firms Flock To Space Exploration

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Author: Elena Malykhina
Publisher: InformationWeek
Date: May 19, 2014

With a steady decline in federal funding for NASA programs, commercial companies are looking to fill a void through privately funded space exploration. Whether it’s sending humans to Mars or using technologies to mine extraterrestrial minerals for medicinal purposes, the US space program is going through a major transformation.

On May 14, a panel of experts from the private sector convened at the Brookings Institution in Washington to discuss how the economy is moving toward commercial companies getting involved in space. “This is no longer your grandfather’s space program,” Darrell West, Brookings Institution’s VP and director of governance studies, said at the start of the panel discussion.

Commercial firms are increasingly launching satellites, supplying the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo, and even developing options for space tourism in the near future. While in the past most US manned and unmanned missions were funded by the federal government, space economy is moving toward entrepreneurs and commercial companies getting involved. John Roth, VP of business development for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s space systems, called this shift “old space versus new space.” Read more here.