Roulette, Joey. “Jeff Bezos’ Rocket Company Wants to Build a Space Station”, The New York Times, Oct. 25, 2021
Article 1 summary: Blue Origin, the space corporation founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is collaborating with other companies to develop a space station in Earth orbit. The organization revealed its ambitions for a privately built orbital station that might replace or supplement the International Space Station. NASA aims to give private space businesses up to $400 million to jumpstart construction, with the goal of eventually working with private operators like Elon Musk’s SpaceX to transport goods and astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Blue Origin and its partners’ concept, dubbed Orbital Reef, is only available in digital simulations and drawings, but executives claim it may be realized by the end of the decade. Lockheed Martin and Nanoracks, a company that facilitates research on the International Space Station, unveiled Starla, their own space station. Another entrant, Axiom Space, has been given permission to launch the first stages of a free-flying facility that will first dock with the International Space Station. Customers have been sent on short, up-and-down tourist flights to the edge of space by the firm, which was created in 2000.
Article 1 analysis : Blue Origin is a prominent company in the emerging private space scene. They’ve had multiple success’s with their small scale space hopping rocket, allowing passengers to experience weightless and space for 5-10 minutes, before safely parachuting back down. In this article Blue Origins future endeavors are discussed, one of the biggest being their space hotel named “Orbital Reef”. The logistics and enterprising behind the creation and eventual launch of this space station are discussed in the article, as well as the multiple collaborations that had to be conceived to make it happen.
Article 1 response: In this article the author, Joey Roulette, covers Blue Origin’s future endeavors into space and how they desire to build a self sustaining tourist hotel in space. Although the focus of the article is Blue Origin, the author also covers a few other companies who are either collaborating with Blue Origin, or have ambitions of their own and are on their way to success. I believe that the author covers a fairly wide range of details about the topic of emerging space tourism, and the is very fair and straight with the facts presented. Along with this, the author doesn’t favor one particular side of the argument, nor favors one particular company discusses. Blue Origin gets the most attention only because of how far ahead they are of the competition, i believe that given the circumstances, the author gives each company a fair amount of attention.
Channon Hodge and Nadia Sussman. “Launching Space Tourism”, The New York Times, September 7, 2012
Article 2 Summary: In this mini-documentary, the authors cover multiple companies working towards the goal of a private, commercialized space industry. The main focus is on Virgin Galactic, a company owned by billionaire Richard Branson, but other companies are shown as well. They cover the difficulties and different achievements that have been made in recent years on this front. Although the video is from 2012, it is a good glimpse into how far the industry has advance in such a short time period.
Article 2 Analysis: Virgin Galactic has had many ups and downs over the years, but one thing has remained true the entire time. Richard Branson and his team have never backed down from a challenge, and pushed forward in their innovative approach to reaching space. As stated in the video, Virgin Galactic doesn’t just sell a ticket to space; when a customer buys a ticker they buy an entire experience, from visiting the launch site to hanging out with the owner of the company, they plan to give the customer an entire experience along with the ride.
Article 2 Discussion: Although it is a somewhat short video, it covers a lot of important points about Virgin Galactic’s project for a private space industry, as well as other smaller companies successes. They also go into detail about the specifics of the experience of buying a ticket for Virgin Galactic’s space tours. The view is positive and leaves the viewer well informed about the topic, and even more interested in the prospect of them being able to go to space in the near future.
Thompson, Clive. “Monetizing the Final Frontier“, TNR, December 3, 2020
Article 3 Summary: In this article, the author covers the emerging transition in the space industry, where sectors such as NASA are handing off operations to private companies. Various examples are discussed, such as SpaceX shuttling astronauts to the ISS for far cheaper than the Space Shuttle. Along with this the article covers the history of private companies producing products for NASA through contracts throughout the 60’s-90’s.
Article 3 Analysis: The importance of SpaceX, a private company, being involved in the space industry cannot be understated. While most government owned operations can be limited by budget cuts and other complications, private companies are not limited by these problems. When SpaceX launched the first astronauts it was a tipping point for private operations in space, as for the first time, NASA considered all available options to launch their own crew, and decided that a private independent company was the most viable and cost effective.
Article 3 Discussion: The Article covers a lot of important points, and provides in depth detail about various topics regarding the privatization of space. From what companies are in the spotlight, to what issues need to be overcome to realize this goal. Most importantly, what issues arise when the interests of space become capitalized.
Ward, Peter. “The unintended consequences of privatizing space“, Science Focus, November 6th, 2019
Article 4 Summary: In this article, Ward covers a bit of history about the Space Race between the USSR and United States in the 1960’s, before shifting focus to the present day. He talks about the driving force behind the rapid commercialization and privatization of space, which is capital investments and more generally capitalism, and whether or not its the right thing to be driving this industry forward. Adding to this, the topic of how to make money once you’re up there is covered as well, which Ward sees the most likely option being space tourism, a unique experience only few have had so far. He predicts this becoming a massive industry in the next decade. Another issue discussed is the potential negative impacts this will have on life down on earth, from climate change to greatly increased economic divide.
Article 4 Analysis: While the question of “is capitalism leading the industry forward the best method?” is entirely valid, it cannot be ignored that massive profits will be returned to those who invest. With the advent of “space hotels” and other tourist focus space projects, the influx of ticket buyers for these once in a lifetime opportunities will no doubt sky rocket. Negative impacts on the other hand, are far more pressing, as monopolies and other capitalistic interests emerge from these issues. If a private company entirely funds a self sufficient space station for tourist, then they have full control over all life support systems and other essential items. Existing treaties on the control of space and space resources only limit countries from owning monopolies on these resources, private companies are exempt, as at the time it was entirely unfeasible for one company to reach the capital investment that space exploration requires.
Article 4 Discussion: The article is extremely well written, as most topics are covered with enough detail to get important information across, without boring the reader with a wall of text. On top of this, the topics discussed are well organized and nicely transitioned through, keeping the reader engaged with each topic.