July 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm by Frank White
Yes, isn't it interesting that, at the moment when the Obama Administration is expanding the government's reach in a host of areas, such as financial services, the automobile industry, and the healthcare industry, it is contemplating a diminished role in piloted spaceflight. As I understand it, that is what the Augustine Commission has been set up to consider.
As for me, I am for a healthy and balanced public/private partnership in all aspects of our lives, and "balance" is the key word. Without the government, we would most likely not be celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing, we would not have the Overview Effect, nor would we be using the Internet to talk about all of this on a worldwide basis. So I would like to see a rational plan for a global opening of the space frontier, with all interested nations participating (I call this the "Human Space Program.) Under this plan, there would be a role for government and a role for private enterprise. Each one would do what they do best.
Of course, there might be some unintended consequences of the American government receding from the space field. That might encourage people in the private sector to step up and make things happen. However, I don't think that is what is driving this current initiative. So I would be interested in hearing from anyone who is following the Augustine Commission and might be able to enlighten me as to where they are headed.