We have at least three GOP politicians who want to obstruct a private space travel company in order to give more business to NASA.
You really know the world is twisted, not when you have Republican Congressman promoting a state agency by trying to use the law to hamper a private business (that probably happens more often than we realize), but when you have a defense of the free market posted at Slate: “Three Congressmen Are Using Red Tape to Bind SpaceX to Earth.”
Hey, remember Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the guy who threw needless layers of bureaucracy at SpaceX because the private space company was doing its job of launching rockets into space a little too well? Well, it looks like he’s being joined by gentlemen from the other side of the Capitol: Three congressmen are trying to do the same thing.
Here’s the deal: SpaceX, as you may know, is making good on its promise to make access to space cheaper and more reliable. Their Falcon 9 rocket is putting payloads into orbit for less money than the big government contractors charge.
As one might expect, government officials who have such contractors in their own districts and states are unhappy with this. And apparently some are willing to smear SpaceX as retribution.
Three House members—Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)—have sent a memo to NASA demanding that the agency investigate what they call “an epidemic of anomalies” with SpaceX missions.
This is ridiculous for many reasons. For example, the congressmen say that SpaceX should be accountable to the American taxpayer, but in fact as a contractor the rules are different for them than they would be if NASA themselves built the rockets, just as the rules are for Boeing or any other contractor. In fact, as reported by Space News, NASA didn’t actually pay for the development of the Falcon 9; Elon Musk did.
Supposedly, Republicans favor the free market rather than government ownership of the means of production. So stop chaining down private enterprise from going into space!