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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Champion of Commercial Space: Rohrabacher

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a past advocate of a federal "Zero G, Zero Taxes" policy, remains the only member of the Congress who is an outspoken supporter of the NewSpace policy direction proposed in the President's NASA FY 2011 budget citing in a subcommittee hearing yesterday that private innovation in railroads and airplanes as examples of how private enterprise can work effectively.

Rohrabacher said using commercial companies could significantly reduce government costs and still do the mission, citing upcoming efforts by SpaceX to launch the first flight of its Falcon 9 rocket after getting less than $300 million from NASA to design a spacecraft capable of transporting cargo.

"They have done it on a minuscule [budget] amount compared to what NASA has already spent on the Ares project," he said. "If we are going to do space, we better do it cost effectively and doing it cost effectively is not relying on the government."

Mark R. Whittington, author of The Last Moonwalker, Children of Apollo and Nocturne, has suggested that Rohrabacher should advance that idea of "Zero G, Zero Taxes" again, if only to test President Obama's odd support of capitalism in space. Yet in reality such a federal policy would make space an enterprise zone, eliminating taxes for goods and services created in space.

1 comment:

Coastal Ron said...

In the past, I have not agreed with a lot of the non-space topics Congressman Rohrabacher has advocated, but I appreciate and agree with his stated positions on commercial space.

NASA is a vital asset to our nation, and they should be the guiding hand for creating a robust commercial space program (cargo + crew). They should be providing the advice, supervision and next-generation research, and the commercial firms should be focused on creating systems that are reliable and reduce the cost to access space.