This disadvantage explores the domestic consequences of a new initiative by the government to explore space. Since President Kennedy issued his infamous challenge to America in 1961 to place a man on the moon by the end of the decade, space exploration has largely been accomplished by the public sector, that is, conducted by the government. The Apollo program, the Space Shuttle, and all NASA operations are completely funded by Congress and are ultimately accountable to the President.
Recently however, there has been a movement towards the privatization of space exploration. What this means is that private companies independent of the government would begin to take over the business of going to space, and the government and NASA would rely on them for their needs. Many of these companies have existed for many years, like Boeing, while others like SpaceX have come into being recently. During the Apollo program, NASA engineers would design rockets and space probes and then pay one of these companies to build them.
Recently, Obama’s vision for space exploration cancelled the Constellation program and allocated funds to incentivize the private sector to fill in the lost capabilities. Obama’s plan pushes a vision of space exploration whereby NASA would no longer be designing the rockets going into space – they would instead be more like passengers. The government would function as a customer to a business just like you or me do (if you had the money, likely millions of dollars, you too could ride to space if these companies are successful).
The disadvantage argues that new NASA programs hinder the development of these private space companies. If NASA takes over a function, then investors perceive that that service is already being provided and will not set up their own companies to provide it. Ultimately, private companies will be more effective than the government at space exploration, so NASA should allow them to continue to develop.
Private sector – the private sector collectively refers to companies that are owned by individuals, as opposed to the government. In the context of space exploration, NASA would be a “public” organization since it is a part of the government, whereas someone like Boeing or Lockheed Martin would be considered a part of the private sector.
SpaceX – a private company attempting space exploration. It created the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets and the Dragon spacecraft. In 2010, SpaceX became the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft.
Outsourcing – to outsource is to contract out a practice an organization used to perform itself to another organization. You may have heard some electronics companies have outsourced tech support to foreign countries. In the context of the disadvantage, outsourcing is similar to privatization, and refers to NASA allowing the private sector to take over functions it traditionally performed itself.
Low earth orbit – the area from 100 miles to 1240 miles above the Earth’s surface. With the exception of the Apollo missions, every spacecraft has been launched into low earth orbit.
Ansari X Prize - A Competition launched by private donors and supported by NASA that awarded 10 million dollars to the first company that could send a reusable manned rocket into space twice within two weeks. The object of the prize was to promote commercial development of space.
Crowding Out – When a government prevents private business activity because it already provides the service.
Entrepreneur - A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so
Investor - someone who lends money to a company on the promise of repayment with interest later on.
Behest - A person's orders or command
Frenetic - Fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way
Hypersonic – Faster than 5 times the speed of sound
Privatization DA 1NC [1/2]
A. Uniqueness. Space exploration is being taken over by the private sector in the status quo due to policies of the Obama administration. Jeffrey Kluger, senior time write for TIME magazine, 12/17/2010, “Astronatus Inc.: The Private Sector Muscles Out NASA,” http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2037089,00.html If old NASA hands winced at this kind of giddy talk, they kept it to themselves — and wisely so. In the face of contracting federal budgets and an expanding private sector, the space agencyof the golden years is being blown up and rethought —transformed from a government operation into a public-private partnership that,so its advocates say, will replace the politics, stodginess and glacial paceof Washington with the speed, nimbleness and accountability of the marketplace. That door had been creaking open for a while, but the Obama Administration — facing towering debts and a nation in no mood to spend big on an indulgence like space — has kicked it wide, and Musk is not the only one rushing through. The Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., is vying with SpaceX for government recognition and government contracts. So too are traditional aerospace giants like Lockheed and Boeing, whose rockets are not currently intended to carry astronauts but, they insist, could be redesigned to be safe for humans in short order and at a reasonable price.
B. Government space programs prevent solutions by the commercial sector and hurt privatization more broadly.
David Matsen, CEO of Masten Space Systems, Inc, and named person of the year by Aviation Week in 2010, 6/29/2004, “Public Goods, Bads and NASA,” http://distributedrepublic.net/archives/2004/06/29/public-goods-bads-and-nasa Over the past 30 years or so NASA, the Air Force, and both of their prime contractors have been the only organizations doing any serious space work. But the idea that government must do this and is more capable is not a correct understanding of how it really is. The existence and inefficiencies of government space programs has hindered the market development of private space industry. NASA is to the entrepreneurial space community a public bad. Until very recently, when I or any of my friends or associates talked to investors about funding a space program we would get laughed at, nevermind that there is lots of solid market research indicating far better returns than most other technologies. We called it the giggle factor. We had to carefully hone our presentations to minimize this. And even then we would more often hear "what - you intend to compete against NASA?" or "Only governments can do space it's too difficult and too expensive." Followed by laughing. At us. If they were in a good mood. Government programs to provide some good do it badly, and in addition discourage private solutions from coming to market.