Posted by: Jeff Rhodes | April 8, 2011

Aerospace – Private Industry Rises to the Top – Who cares about a government shutdown?

As we contemplate a government shutdown due to a failure to pass a budget last year – an absolution of duty on the part of the Peolsi congress – let’s take the opportunity to reevaluate our faith in the ability of the federal government to take care of our needs.  It is sad that the American public seems to have abandoned our “rugged individualist” persona and sprit in favor of having the government provide for our needs. 

With all that’s wrong, the story of Elon Musk is part of what’s right.  Musk was born in South Africa in 1971.  He immigrated to Canada (his mother’s home country) on his own at age 17.  He did what Canadians do – cut timber in British Columbia and cleaned boilers in Toronto.  At age 20,  Musk moved the United States and obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and physics from various American universities.  By age 35, he had founded Paypal, which made him a billionaire. 

 Now at age 39, Musk’s latest venture is Space Exploration Inc. (SpaceX), a privately held company, funded fully by Musk himself.  SpaceX builds heavy lift – human flight certified – spacecraft and booster rockets that, I believe, will make NASA obsolete in the spaceflight business. 

See this story about SpaceX’s newest rocket, scheduled to be ready to begin flights in less than two years. 

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket can lift more than double the payload of NASA’s Space Shuttle and do it for a tenth the cost per launch. The Falcon Heavy is the largest rocket on the planet, second only to the Saturn V moon rocket from the 1960’s. 

US Congress, Mr. President – fund the national defense, protect our property rights and get the hell out of our way.  If a 40 year old American immigrant, self-made billionaire, entrepreneur can design, build, and profitability operate a fleet of spacecraft, vastly surpassing what the government behemoth NASA  could never do, we don’t need you for anything else. 

Check out the Falcon Heavy video from SpaceX.

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