Now that the SpaceX Heavy has succeeded. There will now be a public test of US government spending corruption.
We will now see if a clearly technically and economically superior alternative can kill $30 billion in waste for an inferior and delayed project over the next decade. We will also see if the US government will try to steal SpaceX intellectual property. The SpaceX Heavy not only cost $500 million to develop versus $11 billion already spent for no flights for the Space Launch System. Space Launch System will need another $5-10 billion to get close to where SpaceX Heavy is in launch capacity but still without reusability and for a system that will cost 10-20 times more to fly.
Space Launch System will now be an embarrassing poster child for government waste and corruption.
It is has been obvious for decades that the US government has corrupt and broken spending.
Space Launch System is costing over $2 billion per year and will not have its first launch until 2019 if the new schedule was kept. The initial system would only be able to launch 70 tons. It would not be able to launch 130 tons until 2029 if development schedule was kept. The SLS program would have increased costs when they actually starting launching rockets. Costs would ramp to over $4 billion per year from 2019. $11 billion has already been spent and after seven years there will be no launch for another two years.
SpaceX will fly for $90 million per launch versus the planned $1 billion for Space Launch System. A 100-ton payload capacity Falcon Super Heavy with two more side boosters can be created that would match any planned Space Launch System that could fly for the next ten years.
Any Space Launch System test flight?
Space Shuttle and Space Station are a history of overspending and waste to the tune of about $400 billion
The total cost of the actual 30-year service life of the space shuttle program through 2011, adjusted for inflation, was $209 billion. There were 135 Space Shuttle launches. The cost of the Space shuttle was over $1.5 billion per launch. The Space Shuttle was initially pitched as a reusable $5 million per launch system that would refly every week. These promises are all the things that SpaceX is on the way to actually delivering.
Spending is broken and corrupt throughout the US government
This is not just in space spending but is endemic throughout the US system. There is the broken military procurement of the F-35 stealth fighter where $122 billion has been spent on the F35 program up until the end of 2017. $10-15 billion will be spent each year through 2022. This has bought 360 F-35’s and half of them are not flying because they are waiting for parts for repairs.
US Government has talked about stealing SpaceX IP
Question – Scientific American Interview of Scott Pace [Executive Secretary of the National Space Council who is working on US administration space policy]
Speaking of going back to the moon, rethinking things and engaging more with the private sector, NASA is spending billions of dollars developing its own heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System, as the centerpiece for future exploration activities beyond low Earth orbit. But private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are pursuing more reusable heavy-lift vehicles of their own that may be less expensive to build and operate. Is there room for public-private partnership there, and what might that look like?
Answer from Scott Pact
Heavy-lift rockets are strategic national assets, like aircraft carriers. There are some people who have talked about buying heavy-lift as a service as opposed to owning and operating, in which case the government would, of course, have to continue to own the intellectual properties so it wasn’t hostage to any one contractor. One could imagine this but, in general, building a heavy-lift rocket is no more “commercial” than building an aircraft carrier with private contractors would be.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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