Privatizing Space Flight

Ending NASA’s control of manned American space flight and moving these responsibilities to private contractors sounds like as bad idea as is possible in the early twenty-first century. NASA has been successfully putting Americans into space for research and exploration for over half a century. Why would companies who are just beginning to experiment with manned orbital flight do a better job than the scientists, researchers, and engineers who’ve put men on the moon?

Speaking at a news conference in Israel on Wednesday, Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., the NASA administrator, gave hints of the new direction. “What NASA will focus on is facilitating the success of — I like to use the term ‘entrepreneurial interests,’ ” General Bolden said.

Turning NASA into a pass-through organization responsible for cutting checks to Boeing & LockheedMartin is an embarrassing idea, better suited for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney than the Obama administration. This is the worst kind of American corporatism.

Shorter Obama Administration: Privatized manned space flight: Because, hey, Blackwater has worked out pretty well.

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