Monday, August 16, 2010

Space commerce

An early look at my Sept. article in Research magazine: "Space Commerce's New Dawn." Excerpt:
Ever since the U.S. government scrambled to set up NASA in response to the Soviet Union’s 1957 launch of the Sputnik I satellite, political and military considerations have tended to outweigh commercial motives in getting space hardware off the ground. The Apollo moon missions, for instance, were implemented in a spare-no-expense manner that would have been a poor model for any cost-conscious private-sector effort.

Even so, dreams of extraterrestrial profit bubbled up even at the height of the space race. In the summer of 1969, as NASA landed men on the moon, Pan Am began taking reservations for a lunar flight scheduled for the year 2000. As it happened, Pan Am would not stay in business that long, let alone fly to the moon, but it did sign up over 90,000 would-be passengers including Ronald Reagan, then California’s governor.
Whole thing here. Related: my recent FrumForum moon piece here.

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