Privatizing Space Travel?

With our discussion in class on monopolies and their characteristics I came across an article that discussed the pros and cons of space travel going to the private sector-Privatize Space Shuttles? Not So Fast. This article explains that if space travel was private there would be so many costs that would be associated with it that it would be very hard for some private sector to fund it let alone make it safe enough to have people want to experience it. This would be one heck of a monopoly, but would it be worth it?


Jim said...

"Space", would be a huge monopoly, but your right if so much information is kept in such a small space, (one company) then the wrong kind of things are bound to happen.

scott said...

In response to Jim's comment. Space travel is mostly monopolized now by a few national governments. Privatizing space travel would actually be reducing the oligopolies that are already present. Are governments more reliable with information than corporations?

Eric said...

I disagree at this point I don’t see private space travel to be a monopoly at all! I haven’t spent too much time on the topic and with my limited knowledge I have heard of two different companies getting into the market one Chinese and one American! Virgin Galactic being the U.S. run company looking at the stars is in the process of researching and building its own fleet of space craft. I think the idea is great! More competition pushes the price tag down and maybe someday we can all take a ride! I say if the NASA run space shuttles become obsolete sale!

Keston said...

Personally I don’t know a whole lot about this topic, but I do think that it would be very hard for companies to fund this type of activity with all of the costs and risks that are associated with it. If more companies get into this market it should push the price down and this is better for the consumer. However, I don’t think I would be interested in going to space but I’m sure there are many who are.

Dr. Tufte said...


I think the fundamental problem in this discussion is that it isn't clear that the space shuttles are an asset that has any value in the open market. They feature old technologies and designs that have a poor cost containment history, and a history of frequent and severe accidents.

There is also the distinction between mannned and unmanned flight. The latter is already largely private. The former isn't, and is an even worse bet for the future use of the space shuttle.

What the government probably ought to do is continue to book future work on the space shuttle at known prices, and then allow any private company to keep the difference if they can do the job for less.