Can SpaceX Save NASA (Some Money)?

NASA recently signed a $424 million contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency, agreeing to pay a record $70.6 million per person to send U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station.

How did America -- the only country in the world to put men on the moon and rovers on Mars -- turn into a country that has to hitch rides to a space station it helped to build? And what can we do about it?

In today's video, Fool.com contributor Rich Smith lays out the problem for you, tells you which companies are trying to fix it, and identifies the one company in this group that you should check out.

Tesla's plan to disrupt the global auto business has yielded spectacular results. But giant competitors are already moving to disrupt Tesla. Will the company be able to fend them off? For anyone who wants to own SpaceX, but feels they've got to settle for Elon Musk's Tesla for the time being, The Motley Fool answers these question and more with the most in-depth Tesla research available. Get instant access by clicking here now.


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  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2013, at 8:21 AM, SpaceOpsInc wrote:

    The biggest challenge with Commercial Space right now is they are still years out from having a manned solution. Space Operations Inc. was started to not only address this by offering a capability to bring manned spaceflight sooner then later but to also compliment the current commercial space companies by addressing area's they aren't in.

    http://www.spaceoperationsinc.com/

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2013, at 5:09 PM, windbourne wrote:

    Multiple issues with this report.

    1) Rich says that Neither Tesla nor Solar City are profitable. Tesla reported profits a couple of weeks ago. In addition, Tesla is about to have another stock offering to pay off the federal debt quickly, as well as get Model X and hopefully bluestar to the market quickly.

    2) Boeing has decent books at the moment, however, the CEO, McNerney, is from GE and has not learned the lessons from either GE or Boeing. Basically, the 787 was an unmitigated failure due to the fact that they outsourced a great deal of the craft. Worse yet, they outsourced many of the parts to companies that had less experience than did Boeing. So, in spite of engineers speaking against that outsourcing, what does McNerney do to fix it? He is now laying off a number of core engineers and hiring ones from Russia.

    Boeing is about to take the same path that destroyed McDonald Douglas, and is destroying GE. They will not only lose their in-house expertise, but they are going to send it to other nations, where the companies actually are NOT multi-nationalistic, but are purely nationalistic and will support their own nation. Yes, Russians and Chinese are very nationalistic and any IP transfer will lead to it being used against you.

    Boeing is going to take a major dive within 3 years, and possibly within 2 years.

    3) SpaceX is to have DragonRider in 2015. Now SpaceX has a history of being late. But that was due to lack of funds. At this time, SpaceX has plenty of money and is hard at work producing this. The reason why the Russian contract went through is that CONgress, namely the house republicans, wants to kill off private space and push the SLS. As such, the 1.5B total targeted for 3 different human launchers is being held up by the House republicans. Instead, they want to spend 3-4B/year on the SLS , at which point it will be ready to launch, and .5B/year for human launches via Russia, until 2022.

    4) SNC is pushing the DreamChaser. In part, they are using their own money. It is likely that it will be ready by 2016.

    5) the real company that was missed was Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow Aerospace is working on MULTIPLE private space stations, with the first to launch in 2015. They needed a human launcher to be able to work, so they are pushing Boeing and SpaceX to get their human launchers going by 2015. Boeing's will likely not be ready. BUT SpaceX will be.

    More importantly, without Bigelow, then having 3 human launchers for the US is overkill by a long shot. As such, both systems (multiple human launchers, multiple cargo launchers, and multiple space stations) are needed together.

    Once these private launchers and space stations are going, then they will be headed for the moon and mars.

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