One day after SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk posted a blog on the company’s website detailing spending on its Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets and its Dragon cargo capsule, Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute called out the Internet billionaire as more talk than action.
In a blog on the Lexington Institute’s website with the headline “SpaceX: Glib Salesman Takes NASA for a Ride,” Thompson said Musk makes promises that more established aerospace executives won’t and that SpaceX has accomplished very little relative to the hype surrounding the startup.
“Nobody ever said that getting into space would be easy, but when a company has suffered three catastrophic launch failures in a mere seven missions, that’s not a good sign. Nonetheless, NASA can’t seem to get enough of SpaceX, shelling out $2 billion to get its launch vehicles to a point where they can begin lifting payloads into orbit to support the Space Station and other missions.”
It’s not clear where Thompson, who has worked as a consultant for Lockheed Martin, got the $2 billion figure. SpaceX does have a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA that when coupled with other agency investments in the company gets into the $2 billion ballpark. However, SpaceX has received only a small fraction of the CRS funding to date; the bulk of that money will be paid out over the next several years once SpaceX begins routine space station logistics runs with Falcon 9 and Dragon, and those flights won’t begin until next year.
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