Come out from under that rock, human, because soon we’ll be moving to Mars! Well, not just yet, bu SpaceX have announced their hopes of launching an unmanned Dragon capsule to Mars on a private mission in 2018. They will then become the very first private company to have landed on another planet.
And on that note, NASA has decided to hitch a ride on SpaceX’s successful bandwagon, and of course, share the spotlight. So NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman announced in a blog post that NASA has “accepted” partnership with SpaceX on their mission; NASA agreed to provide technical support to SpaceX’s mission. And in return, NASA expect SpaceX to provide them with data about the spacecraft’s entry into the planet’s atmosphere, its descent, and its landing. NASA’s agreement with SpaceX is completely free, depending solely on an exchange of data. So technically, Nasa’s using SpaceX for their landing strategy which is a very smart move, saves them millions financially, and gets them a “partnership”, as well!
On the other hand, NASA just cut the funding on its own Mars landing mission by up to 85%. Their mission starred a giant doughnut-like inflatable spacecraft with low density and supersonic deceleration and uses parachutes and Mar’s atmospheric friction to land. However, last year’s test didn’t go too well and the project was costing them about $ 2 million per year. Hence, they announced that the program cut was due to budget constraints.
NASA’s past “partnerships” with private companies have resulted in startling successes so far. And on top of that, they are getting cargo delivered to the ISS for almost no cost on their part! So good going, NASA, you’re one smart and opportunistic cookie!