So what do you do when you’ve outgrown all your old toys? Hold a garage sale and try to make a few bucks! NASA hopes to do the same thing with all its old toys. The space shuttles are all nestled in their retirement homes, but NASA still has plenty of equipment, buildings and other infrastructure left over from their 30-year run. The space agency is quietly trying to sell it or lease it, and in some cases by the end of this year.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, which has been tracking NASA’s garage sale efforts, the steel and concrete buildings will almost certainly start to rust in the humid, salty climate of Florida’s Space Coast. Some commercial partners already have deals with the space agency to use its facilities. Boeing is refurbishing one of the Orbiter Processing Facilities for its CST-100 space transport capsule, which could eventually ferry up to seven astronauts to the space station. And SpaceX has already used the launch facilities at KSC.
But there’s plenty left, from the huge shuttle landing strips and rollout paths to the parachute-packing plants. Keep an eye on eBay, see what appears!
Check out this gallery to see some of the assets NASA is hoping to offer to the next generation of space explorers.
The race for space
The old NASA system of funding missions into space was extremely susceptible to delays, overruns, and dependence on a single source. Hardly an example of capitalism. The new approach is sleeker. In the new system, NASA puts up some money to get more than one company capable of delivering a product, set the companies against each other to provide the best product and lets the free market decide the winner. Fresh innovative thinking wins the day, and the financial risk of overruns is shifted to the private system. So why would any members of congress vote against it? Well, unsurprisingly a few states and companies have grown fat on the the old system, and they have no intention of having to compete or be innovative.
In this case, the free market speaks, the taxpayer wins, and we can all do better science.
discovery over the mall
End of an era for American space flight. It did get too expensive and turned into a real cash cow, but now what do we do. The two options left now are either hitch a ride with other nations (russia or china) or buy a lift with Richard Branson. The real problem is what happens if we want to get back into the space travel game again. It’ll take even more to catch up with those who have continued to fund this.
As humans, we want to explore. It is a natural instinct and one we should pay attention to. A nation that stops exploring is a nation that needs to reassess priorities.