SpaceX Paves New Future for Private Space Exploration, But Congress Could Ruin All Progress

As SpaceX gears up for its planned space launch this week to the International Space Station, Congress is preparing to vote next week on a spending bill that would require NASA to select a private company for the commercial crew program. If passed, Congress would effectively end the innovative competition that has developed between private companies for space travel. Voting for this bill would be a short-sighted attempt to save money and would have dire consequences for private development in space.

What we have now. Although the current setup is not ideal, it does establish healthy competition between multiple private companies vying to become the replacement for the now retired shuttle program. NASA offers subsidies to companies in the competition. It is not full funding, but supplemental funding. As a result, at least five companies are currently receiving subsidies and competing.