When the chief executive for the monopoly provider of national security launches praises the virtues of a proposed long-term, sole-sourced block buy, and likewise applauds the government’s approach to considering new entrants, the buyer of those launches should be wary.
The latest from Tim Hughes
Commercial space efforts necessarily will bring greater safety and reliability to manned spaceflight because providers must compete primarily on that dimension. As is true with commercial aviation, businesses will fail unless safety and reliability come first, regardless of price. The need for a laser-like focus on safety and reliability becomes even more acute when commercial space companies put their own financial skin in the game, offer services on a firm-fixed price basis against competing bidders, and get paid in full only if they perform. In short, a focus on safety and reliability, coupled with the benefits of competition and the proposition of weaning the United States off Russian dependence, are the key elements in answer to the question, “So why is there a push for commercial?” posed by Scott “Doc” Horowitz in his recent Space News commentary [“Commercial Space: What Role Is It Ready For?,” Jan. 25, page 19].