I’m a big fan of NASA, and I support more money for it. That said, the incredible and innovative stuff in rocketry is happening in private industry. For all those billions spent on SLS/Orion it is not even off the ground yet. In the meantime SpaceX is flying its Falcon 9, sticking SciFi-ish landings of the lower stage to save money (something NASA isn’t even seriously working on) and preparing to launch a manned version of the Dragon capsule a full year before NASA’s Orion carries men into space.

In terms of broad and leapfrogging tech vision, NASA doesn’t have anything clearly planned other than derivatives of yet to be seen Space Launch System. In the meantime, SpaceX is deeply committed to the revolutionary super heavy launch capable Interplanetary Transport System and test firing the Raptor engines it will use. Innovations, beyond incredible scale, planned for that system includes in orbit refueling for manned trips to Mars and even the outer planets.

NASA is great, but it is in long term danger of being left behind and made obsolete by more efficient and innovative private enterprises.

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Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80

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