A Washington think tank says America can best further space exploration by privatizing the space program.
The Center for a New American Security makes that suggestion in "Capitalism in Space," a paper written by science journalist Robert Zimmerman.
The report is the latest in a series of reports addressing the perennial debate over how the U.S.can secure access to space.Zimmerman suggests overhauling government space programs, admittedly at the expense of sizable chunks of NASA.
The author's primary argument is that competition and the private sector can do better than the public sector's status quo in terms of providing dependable, cost-effective access to space.
Zimmerman makes recommendations that ultimately advocate shifting more toward the example Elon Musk has set with SpaceX.The company is already considered the most innovative leader of commercial aerospace in the United States, especially with its recent commitment to the ambitious goal of sending paying tourists to the moon and back by the end of 2018, which would be unprecedented.
Zimmerman points out that SpaceX's business has upset hegemony in the aerospace industry with its economical costs compared to other providers.This is the case in comparison to not only U.S.providers but also those in Asia and Europe.
Zimmerman writes, "If NASA or the Air Force require a service they should request it from the private market, becoming a customer like everyone else.This will result in increased competition and performance at a lower cost."