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Private Spacecraft Docked at ISS

It's a first! Space X has created a cargo craft that brought supplies to the International Space Station on October 10th, a task that NASA usually takes care of. Space X has signed a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 11 more cargo trips.

Among other items, it brought the astronauts up there a special treat: ice cream (and clean underwear?)

Actually, it ISN'T a first: SpaceX, the company which built the Dragon spacecraft that carried the cargo, as well as the Falcon 9 rocket that blasted it into orbit, has been to the ISS before, in May. This is another example of the privatization of space travel. Elon Musk, SpaceX’s billionaire founder who made his fortune on Paypal, has never made any secret of his desire to see "Dragons" on Mars.

In the true capitalist fashion, SpaceX has competition Orbital Sciences, a company that makes satellites, wants NASA to pay it $1.9 billion to run eight cargo flights of their own.

The October 13-19th edition of the Economist writes: "In theory, by delegating to the private sector the humdrum business of ferrying food and astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA hopes to free up cash to do other, more difficult things, including sending people to nearby asteroids by 2025, and on to Mars by the 2030s. Many space-watchers are skeptical about whether such missions will ever happen, given the American government's squeezed budgets and NASA's historical role as a political football. But even if NASA does not venture beyond low-Earth orbit, others might."

And those "others" might be the private space companies that seem to be springing up everywhere. If they find something anomalous on another planet, will they be more honest with us than NASA has been? When it comes to the Visitors, when we've wanted to find out what's REALLY going on (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), we've had to rely on "private enterprise" too!



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