In the last post, we discussed the history behind both NASA and SpaceX. Don’t forget to check that post out! In this post, we will focus more on comparing the two organizations.
The Space Race is considered a time during the Cold War when the USA and the USSR were racing to accomplish the most in the field of space discovery and aviation. You could say that another Space Race is currently happening between NASA and private companies, most notably SpaceX. But who will win this new Space Race???
NASA say that their goal is to send people to Mars by 2040. Elon Musk says that his goal is to send people to Mars by 2024. That’s 16 years apart from each other! And NASA get way more government funding that SpaceX could dream about. So, how comes Elon Musk has the cojones to announce he will send people to the Red Planet a decade and a half earlier than NASA?
First of all, Musk really wants to promote private space organisations. For all of these years, the field of space exploration was pretty much dominated by National Agencies. Musk wants to break through that mould. And that brings us into my next point. Since he doesn’t have to rely on the government too much for funding, he can allow himself for a lot more. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. NASA needs to make sure that there isn’t anything that could possibly happen to the astronauts, while Musk just goes Screw it! and goes with the flow.
During the Cold War, NASA was receiving loads of money from the US government. And even though they still get way more that SpaceX does, they don’t get nearly as much as they used to. If converted it to today’s money, it is estimated that the Apollo 11 Mission would have costed around 140 billion dollars. Of course, we would need even more to reach Mars. But, nowadays, NASA only receives 9 billion dollars a year to cover all flights.
Another advantage SpaceX has over NASA is the Falcon 9 rocket. In the sixties-seventies NASA’s Saturn V technology was ground-breaking. But, it’s really old news now. Sure, NASA have the Orion, but there is no doubting that SpaceX managed to invent a powerful rocket which could potentially take us to Mars one day, way quicker than NASA.
But, at the end of they day. After all of this rivalry between NASA and SpaceX, they both have a common goal and often co-operate with each other to get closer towards that goal. SpaceX may be the ones with the fancy Falcon 9 rockets, but NASA pay them money to use those rockets to deliver parts and recourses to the ISS.
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