The opinion expressed in the Commentary piece “End of WWII Model Shakes Up Aerospace Industry” [Sept. 16, page 19] is frightening. The author ignores the significant success of the current approach. 

In contrast to the pre-World War II days that the author mentions, the United States is now pre-eminent in aerospace technology. Over the past 55 years during which time this model has been operating, we have avoided being dragged into cataclysmic world wars that killed millions of our citizens. 

Abandoning government research and development would return the United States to a period when our aerospace technology lagged behind other countries. This would be to our extreme detriment. 

I applaud the success of “new space” and of more private-sector investment. However, it is unlikely that venture capitalism will guarantee U.S. pre-eminence in aerospace technology, particularly in light of large government investments in other countries. 

I doubt the public wants to go back to the Sputnik era when our technology was lagging. New space should flourish, but relegating government research and development to the garbage bin of history is not a wise direction.

Anthony J. Mannucci

Pasadena, Calif.