Oldspace, NewSpace, AmericaSpace, and History

01/20/13 22:16:00    

By Michael Mealling

AmericaSpace is a blog run by a couple of former aerospace engineers. By and large the two editors are unapologetically top-down, pro-old-space. Their support for NewSpace companies is grudging at best. So, as you can expect, they get a fair amount of push back from those of us on the NewSpace side of the industry. The current incarnation is their recent article “On @ The 90: NewSpace Fans Need to Stop Hating” which goes on for many paragraphs about how intransigent NewSpacers are about bashing OldSpace, and AmericaSpace.com in particular.

Without getting into the mud slinging in the comments, I do want to offer one reason why those on the NewSpace side want to move NASA out of the way as much as possible: it works.

While I'm not a 'certified' historian, the history of mankind is full of examples where exploration and development by governments fails but exploration by individuals and groups for personal gain does. Governments do help by clarifying incentives but NACA didn't build the airplane, railroads were privately built, and very few ships during the Age of Discovery were Government built or owned. Some bring up systems such as the Internet as some triumph of Government funded innovation but, speaking from first hand knowledge, I can testify that while DARPA built the Internet, it was private companies such as Cisco, Netscape, and FTP Software that made it relevant. Having seen the internal workings of NTIA and the ITU back in the 90s its a wonder the Internet made it out of the cradle due to the number of times the US and other governments tried to kill it.

So yea, if we're a bit reflexive about supporting NewSpace over the vision that AmericaSpace offers its because the data says the more private enterprise is in the driver's seat the faster the innovation happens. Government has a role but its a limited one that certainly doesn't include the Senate Launch System.

comments powered by Disqus