guest blogger john hare
I have not said much on the commercial take over of NASA orbital deliveries, so I thought I would lay out the timeline that I see happening.
Commercial space will start sending up astronauts to ISS in 2016 after $16B-$20B in development costs.
Commercial space will get a bit cocky by 2021 and mistakes will cause accidents that kill ten percent of the riders that year. The funding of $6B-$8B a year until that point will be increased for a few years to address the problems that caused the accidents while no commercial vehicles fly astronauts for a couple of years.
From 2021 to 2038, commercial space will continue to be overpriced and under performing to the point that the military redevelops it’s own launch capability in the national best interest. People with real commercial payloads find other providers, even foriegn ones. Almost frantically NASA explores other means of getting commercial companies to perform with a different focus every two to four years with a couple of billion to each failed attempt in addition to the $6B-$8B a year sent to the ‘commercial’ launch providers.
In 2039 additional accidents will cost the lives of twenty percent of it’s riders that year. The government finally realizes that the current crop of ‘commercial’ companies won’t get the job done and initiates a new program with new commercial companies to get the job done right and get back the capability before had before it started down the commercial path.
The commercial companies continue to get $6B-$8B a year to launch even while they are being phased out in favor of the new new commercial companies. In 2045 the government learns that the new new crop of ‘commercial’ launch companies have screwed up even worse than the old new launch companies and decides to shut them down and eat the $18B that they collected for their paper studies with no real hardware to show.
During all this time the commercial companies have built up a lot of political power and the shut down attempt becomes a very long drawn out fight in congress and the press.
Substitute the word Shuttle for the word commercial in this post and back date everything 35 years with costs adjusted for inflation at 2% anually and you have the NASA human spaceflight operation for the last thirty years.