Private Firms to Resupply ISS

December 26th, 2008

Posted by: admin

Nature News recently reminded everyone that the U.S. still has a space program when it noted that private firms will take over resupply efforts for the International Space Station (ISS).  I’ve been less than thrilled with space contractors in their efforts to develop launch vehicles and other craft for NASA – they seem to bust budgets with a regularity and flair that surpasses many federal agencies.  However, this particular function is a service rather than a new product, and the companies involved – Orbital Sciences and SpaceX – have a much smaller history of screwing things up than their larger astronautical cousins.

Worth noting is that failure for these companies means a dramatic reduction in what the ISS would be capable of doing.  As the station is currently undergoing expansion, this sign of trust is interesting.  Should it bite NASA, I do hope the companies are appropriately penalized.

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