The Dark Side of Private Space Programs

I am not opposed to private firms helping us get into space. I totally understand that private companies and start-ups can bring new, imaginative, and innovative ideas to the table – and that we should absolutely listen to those ideas if we’re going to do this thing the right way. But their fervor to “control the market” is a bit much for me to handle. Just because it’s not on Earth doesn’t mean that all humans – not just the rich white privileged ones – shouldn’t have some say in the role we as a species will play in the future of our off-world experiences. The proponents of privatized space flight say it’s more efficient and doesn’t take money away from taxpayers. But, in reality, these are just convenient, conservative lines being fed to us so that one agenda – profit-making – becomes paramount. The only way to ensure that humanity’s best interests are considered in space travel is through democracy. And as we know, corporations are naturally undemocratic entities. Is that the future we want for space exploration? It’s not the future that I want to see. Anyway, in the article, they articulate all of the reasons why this is terrible much more eloquently than I do.

Let’s talk about the dark side of private space programs.


  1. Space exploration in the private sector is,needless to say, a very complex issue, and one you and I have debated in the past. Private industry has always been a part of the space picture, and most likely always will be. I, like you, also have concerns in some of the areas you mention here. One of my major concerns is the negative blow-back a failed privately funded manned mission (to anywhere) resulting in the lost of life would have on our national space programs to whom public perception is everything.

    I think one of the best ways to help ensure we never have a Weyland-Yutani type future in space is to strongly support national space agencies, including educating the public as to how and why the work is essential, and also to support those private industries who do contribute to the advancement of national agencies and conduct good science.

    In order for all humanity to have a say as to our future in space it requires all humanity to take an actual interest in that future, and less interest in what the Kardashians are up to and the latest ratings raising antics of Duck Dynasty. That this is not happening is what keeps me awake at night much more so than private industry.

    It’s great to see you writing again, I’ve missed your posts.

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