Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Kinder, Gentler NASA

Reuters reports that NASA is more than willing to work with commercial partners when it comes to going to, and establishing a base on, the moon.

"If we could be in a commercial relationship with somebody who has the capability that's fine because in many cases they can do it for less money than we can," said Neil Woodward, acting director of NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, at the International Space Development Conference in Dallas.

Woodward also suggested that NASA would be very interested in an orbital fuel depot, an idea pushed heavily by Jon Goff and others. "One thing that keeps getting batted around is a fuel dump in orbit, in low Earth orbit. If someone was to build one of those and said do you want NASA to be a customer we would say yes because if you do the math it turns out that it would be an advantage to us," Woodward said.

"We're trying to help some commercial entities demonstrate that they can do low Earth orbit resupply to say the space station and once they can do that we can contract with them and then we don't have to do it ourselves anymore."

It's good to see that NASA is not only willing to work with private enterprise in space, but actively encouraging development of space. For many years, that was not the case, and it's a good sign for the future.

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