Bob Richards - NASA versus Commercial Space?
It’s been an amazing year of progress in commercial space. While underscoring the value of public-private partnerships in the opening of the space frontier, the “slam-dunk” success of the SpaceX F9/Dragon ISS flight proved that entrepreneurial efforts can be successfully leveraged with government incentives to do great things. In the same spirit, NASA continued extending this model beyond Earth orbit with the “Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD)” program, selecting Moon Express and two other U.S. companies for additional data purchases arising from their commercial lunar development activities.
Moon Express is excited to be partnered with NASA to help prove how the private sector can respond quickly to incentivized market opportunity. We're one of many examples of how commercial space entrepreneurship is working synergistically with NASA.
NASA versus Commercial Space? That's a false dichotomy. The answer lies in partnerships.
The commercial space industry stands on the shoulders of a giant called NASA. All of us in entrepreneurial space companies were and continue to be awed and inspired by NASA's accomplishments on new frontiers and its research at the boundaries of human knowledge. That's where NASA excels. Moon Express is not only inspired, but enabled, by NASA technology and willingness to partner with the private sector in areas of mutual value and economic development. Transportation is the low hanging fruit for NASA's innovative partnerships with private industry; not meaning that it's easy, meaning that it makes the most sense because its a repetitive need better done by industry. As a first order rule, if it needs to be done once, that's a government opportunity; if it needs to be done repetitively, that's a business opportunity.
It’s an exciting time for commercial space. We are at an epochal turning point in human history. Moon Express was aptly named in honor of the bold entrepreneurship and public-private railway partnerships that opened up the American west to growth and prosperity. As we continue to learn more about the
Moon and its resources, our curiosity and capital will migrate from exploration to development and ultimately settlement, The role of entrepreneurs in space exploration and development will be vital to our sustainable development as a multi-world species.
I believe history will show, soon, that one generation of human beings witnessed the first human footprints on the Moon as well as the first human footpnts on Mars, and in the transition from a single world to multi-world species, the private sector played a crucial role.