Private Companies Are Changing The Future of Space Travel
By: April Carson
Private entities have been able to achieve great things in this field because they can afford more risks than governments who serve multiple interests with less funding and resources at their disposal. For instance, SpaceX is aiming for a 2024 manned mission but NASA couldn't do it until 2028 according to its own estimates.
Private companies are changing the future of space travel by increasing competition in an industry typically dominated by government agencies due to private enterprises' ability "afford greater risk" that come along with increased reward potentials since there aren't as many restrictions or protocols involved when privately funded missions take place compared to publicly-funded ones run through organizations like NASA. This is because public companies are beholden to the government, shareholders, and customers whereas privately-funded organizations that operate independently of bureaucracy are not.
Private space exploration has bypassed NASA since it created its own inertia after the Apollo program concluded in 1972 without its laser focus on manned space travel under direction from a clearly defined central authority controlling most space agencies worldwide.
Private companies are now taking over where NASA left off. Since the end of Obama's presidency, major changes have been made in order to re-shape government space exploration by putting power into private hands through new legislation.
This is why outer space exploration has taken a big step forward even though it has seemed stagnant for decades up until recently.
All of these activities – including the inaugural commercial space flights planned for 2019 – are laying the groundwork for a new era in which people from all walks of life can go to space as tourists. Private missions like the Inspiration4 mission, which is scheduled to launch later this month, are bringing access to space to those who have never had it before. Only a few dozen people have flown in space, and the vast majority of them were white men. However, with the anticipated growth of commercial spaceflight, this is expected to change.
Rather than the stringent health and physical qualifications that NASA and other space agencies utilize to choose their astronauts, private firms have considerably more flexibility in allowing individuals with a variety of abilities to fly.
On September 15, a crew of two will fly to space on Inspiration4, representing people who have previously been excluded from spaceflight.
Sian Proctor is scheduled to be the first Black woman to fly in a space capsule. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut to go into space, didn't fly until 1992.
"We are trying to open up spaceflight to the entire population," Tom Shelley, CEO of Inspiration Mars Foundation. The private space industry has changed the way people conceive of traveling into space.
"We are moving towards democratizing space," says Tom Shelley, CEO of Inspiration Mars Foundation.
While traditional NASA astronauts must complete a rigorous application process, including an extensive medical exam and military background check, there is no such pre-selection for a private spaceflight company.
Medical practitioners will have to balance clinical demands with the new standards of care on Earth, many of which may be impossible to meet in space. In particular, they must consider the long-term effects of radiation exposure on humans and other species as part of their mission. It is possible that unhealthy conditions such as racism, ableism, and other types of discrimination and oppression will manifest in space and affect both humans and non-human animals. Like government agencies, businesses will need to guard against this in order to create genuine space equality for everyone.