• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The Private-Sector Space Challenge to China

    The SpaceX Dragon capsule has returned to Earth after delivering nearly a half-ton of supplies in the first purely commercial replenishment mission to the International Space Station (ISS). With its successful completion, SpaceX is now on its way to providing a private-sector alternative for keeping the ISS supplied, with 12 flights scheduled through 2016 under the terms of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

    The successful mission is a rare example of the Obama Administration’s preferring a commercial rather than governmental role. Just as importantly, the success of SpaceX makes it unlikely that the ISS consortium would ever have to rely on Chinese vehicles to provide support to the station—a possibility that was raised after a series of Russian space failures. But it also poses other challenges toBeijing(which has shown little interest in participating in the ISS in recent years in any case).

    The success of SpaceX highlights the potential that the private sector offers in playing a larger role in key arenas and domains such as space and cyber, more commonly associated with governments. This is something that other nations, including the People’s Republic ofChina, are uncomfortable with. Preferring to dealing with countries rather than companies, nongovernmental organizations, and private citizens,Beijinghas sought to marginalize the role of non-state actors. In the cyber realm, it would like to see Internet management and governance moved from the Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Numbers (ICANN) to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), where states dominate. We are likely to see a similar preference expressed in the future toward space activities.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    One Response to The Private-Sector Space Challenge to China

    1. O2BMe says:

      I am happy to see there is still a space program The contract for $1.6 billion, is that cheaper than NASA handling it? How much are we saving? Does anyone know? It will definitely be more efficient with a private company running it.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×