Blog

Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Facebook     Twitter     Youtube

Blog

The International Space Station Would Be Better Off in Private Hands



Ross Marchand on 2018-02-26 10:26:00

Image result for international space station
This article originally appeared on Economics21 on February 19, 2018

The nation’s space program often entails sucking billions of taxpayer dollars into black holes. The President’s FY 2019 Budget, released on February 12, gives taxpayers a pleasant break from space oddities. The Budget proposes the removal of government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2024, turning the project over to the private sector. Already this proposal is receiving criticism from some fiscal hawks blindsided by their love for federal forays into space.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) called ISS privatization backers “numbskulls,” reasoning that “As a fiscal conservative,...one of the dumbest things you can to is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead.” Senator Cruz is normally no fan of federal funding, but Texas is home to Houston’s Johnson Space Center, which oversees the Space Station. All politics is local.

Senator Cruz and others suggest that privatizing the ISS would mean squandering the $80 billion to $100 billion already invested in the Space Station over the past few decades. But just because the government invests in basic research does not mean that it has to fund and manage the project forever. By privatizing its share of the Space Station the government could save the approximately $3 billion spent in annual upkeep by NASA. NASA dubiously justifies the drain on its budget by pointing to a myriad of scientific advancements coming from research conducted at the Space Station—even though those could be undertaken by private companies.

Many scientific experiments are limited by the Earth’s gravity, making microgravity conditions in space a better alternative. A widely-touted application is drug development, which often relies on examining the proteins in human bodies. Researchers often crystalize these proteins to get a three-dimensional look, but the size is often too small for a thorough examination. Microgravity allows protein crystals to grow larger than on Earth, leading ISS backers to claim that Space Station experiments are critical for life-saving drugs.

This sort of narrow thinking, however, closes the door on cheaper ways to enlarge crystals down on Earth. Researchers at the University of Bristol discovered that strong magnetic fields can mimic the impact of microgravity in preliminary drug research. Researchers confining their work to Earth have a more viable path forward, due to intellectual property protections in countries such as the US and the UK. The Space Station, and outer space in general, does not have patent protection. As space lawyer Constance Gall Rhebergen points out, the collaborative international nature of the Space Station makes any sort of patents and enforcement tricky. That, and a lack of dispute resolution in space makes most companies unlikely to undertake major research endeavors beyond the stratosphere.

Other touted sources of innovation stem from current public-private collaborations. Technology from the Canadarm, developed for the U.S. Shuttle Program, helped researchers back on Earth create robots capable of operating inside MRI machines.

These spillovers will undoubtedly save lives, but cannot be used as a primary justification for a government-owned Space Station. Canadarm and similar robots cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and acquire. Successor technology has since saved the lives of under 100 cancer patients. While every life saved is a cause for celebration, it is possible that more lives could be saved if those resources were controlled by private companies.

That is not to say that there are no scientific activities worth pursuing beyond Earth. The status quo, however, forces taxpayers to subsidize research and innovation that could be done far more efficiently by private individuals in space or on Earth. If officials at NASA were truly interested in figuring out which space experiments were truly worth the cost, they would let companies and research organizations foot the bill for operational expenses at ISS.

Already, there are plans for other private space stations, and efforts are underway by other countries to build their own stations. These developments will lead to lower hub rental costs in outer space, and make truly worthwhile endeavors even more affordable. Private stations will make patent enforcement easier, and NASA can contribute by defining patent and copyright terms in space. 

Privatization, however, will not necessarily be easy. The Space Station is internationally owned, and the United States would be limited to handing off the areas of the U.S. Orbital Segment (USOS) not managed by the space agencies of the EU, Japan, and Canada. America does have a lot of leverage, though, since it has contributed to the bulk of maintenance funding. Other powers would likely be unwilling to pick the tab in America’s absence, and thus sell off their own areas to other private actors. At worst, the other Western countries would make up the shortfall without privatizing, demonstrating that NASA funding was unnecessary to begin with.

Former NASA White House Liaison Greg Autry summed up the Space Station situation well, observing that, “Depending on who you talk to, ISS is either an incredibly valuable, fully depreciated piece of critical space infrastructure or an orbital sunk cost trap.”

Justifying ISS presence as a prerequisite to Lunar or Martian missions wrongly assumes only the federal government can oversee this research. Privatization will allow the burgeoning private space industry to foot the bill for its own risky endeavors.


dashbest.info - February 27, 2018
http://dashbest.info/
It's going to be ending of mine day, except before finish I am reading this enormous paragraph to improve my experience. http://dashbest.info/

http://www.linux.ca - March 3, 2018
http://www.linux.ca
My tᥙгn, mmy turn.? Larry mentioned eagerly wwiggⅼing tto geet a chance too talk. ?І believe one off the best factolr about God is that he can beat up the devil as a result of the satan is frightening and mean and ugly andd dangerous and Goɗ can beat him up ѕo the devil can?t harm us like he did tһese ԁemon filⅼed peoplе in Jesus day.

TurnCurvy - September 22, 2018
http://batonrougearchitects.blogspot.com/
Normally I don't read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice article.

minecraft - September 22, 2018
http://nky.miraiserver.net/url/minecraft-607215
Keep on working, great job!

minecraft - September 24, 2018
http://goo.gl/RcybAC
Hi there great website! Does running a blog such as this require a massive amount work? I've absolutely no understanding of coding but I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyway, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic however I simply needed to ask. Kudos!

minecraft - September 27, 2018
http://goo.gl/yceCpT
Hey this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

minecraft - September 28, 2018
http://urlr.be/short/minecraft316487
Why visitors still use to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is presented on web?

minecraft - September 29, 2018
http://goo.gl/yceCpT
Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply nice and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

Typicalcat - December 29, 2018
https://www.journojames.org/
Hello. And Bye. https://www.journojames.org/

Typicalcat15 - December 30, 2018
http://fingelska.com/
http://jerryolivelpc.com/pdflivre/gratuit-8-15-livre_de_coloriage_pour_enfants_d%C3%A8s_12_ans_pour_gar%C3%A7on.html A new learn

sudzreader.blogaaja.fi - February 14, 2019
http://sudzreader.blogaaja.fi/kitap-satan-marketler-470/
Son Dönem Kitaplar En Yeni Kitaplar 2015

http://gift14.blogaaja.fi - February 14, 2019
http://gift14.blogaaja.fi/en-cok-okunan-kitaplar-2016-listesi-498/
A Kitap Yeri En Ucuz Kitap Fiyatları

Buchstaben - February 15, 2019
http://gift14.blogaaja.fi/ucuz-kitap-al-sikayet-632/
Kutsal Kitap Hızlı Kargo Kitap

openfi.blogaaja.fi - February 23, 2019
http://openfi.blogaaja.fi/son-donem-populer-kitaplar-337/
En Son Kitap Isimleri 2016 En Güzel Romanlar

inhouse - March 10, 2019
http://tiny.cc/fwej3y
yߋu'гe realply a gooⅾ webmaster. The web site loading velocity iss amazing. Ӏt seems that you are ɗoing any uniqu trick. Ϝurthermore, Tһe cоntents are masterwork. уoս've done а fantastic job ߋn this matter!

minecraft - March 24, 2019
http://bit.ly/2EFkSqE
Hello would you mind letting me know which web host you're using? I've loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a honest price? Cheers, I appreciate it!

minecraft - March 25, 2019
http://bit.ly/2TpvNKs
Hello there! I simply want to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have right here on this post. I am coming back to your web site for more soon.

minecraft - March 29, 2019
http://bit.ly/2CCj6Xb
I blog frequently and I seriously appreciate your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I will take a note of your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

http://tinyurl.com/yy6dvubl - April 10, 2019
http://tinyurl.com/yy6dvubl
Hello! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay. I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

minecraft - April 12, 2019
http://bit.ly/2Fx9aQq
Have you ever considered publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

minecraft - April 12, 2019
http://tinyurl.com/yywux2sk
I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now ;)

http://tinyurl.com - April 13, 2019
http://tinyurl.com/yy98mqjs
Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it's really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

minecraft - April 13, 2019
http://t.co/fqBlNe06Zz
Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, let alone the content!

minecraft - April 13, 2019
http://tinyurl.com/y4ys9jh3
Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic but I'd figured I'd ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you're interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

tinyurl.com - April 16, 2019
http://tinyurl.com/y56htg62
I am really grateful to the holder of this website who has shared this great piece of writing at at this place.

minecraft - April 17, 2019
http://tinyurl.com/y23en8n8
Incredible story there. What occurred after? Good luck!

minecraft - April 18, 2019
http://tinyurl.com/y6hoc2tn
An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your website.

minecraft - April 18, 2019
http://bit.ly/2CCj6Xb
Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe the whole thing is presented on net?