An article at Wired.com (“Rocket Booster: Let Private Sector help NASA”) keeps a free-market focus on the future of American space exploration: “After leading the way in the human exploration of space for nearly 50 years, the future of U.S. manned space flight is in question. The space shuttle makes its last flight next year. After that, NASA must rely on the Russians to put astronauts in space. Unless the country looks to the private sector.”
In an age of out of control government spending — over $30 billion a week in budget deficits, 130,000 troops in Iraq and over 60,000 in Afghanistan, and a president and Democratic majority in Congress seemingly bent on collectivizing the entire healthcare industry — a presidentially appointed committee has apparently found one thing the government cannot pay for, at present: manned exploration of space.
According to a report in the Associated Press, South Korea aborted its first launch of a new rocket just minutes before its scheduled liftoff. The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (or Naro-1) was to be the first rocket launched from the new Naro Space Center in Goheung, South Korea.
Aabar Investments of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates agreed on July 28 to buy a 32 percent stake in Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture known as Virgin Galactic. The $280 million deal was inked on the grounds of the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual AirVenture fly-in event held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
As millions of Americans remember “where they were” 40 years ago when they first heard Neil Armstrong’s famous first words from the surface of the moon, the nation is poised between different possible futures for manned space exploration.