Ten Reasons Why NASA Must Kill Ares I & Buy Commercial Rides to Space

by Space Frontier Foundation on January 26, 2010

The Space Frontier Foundation has led the fight for a free and open frontier in space for over 20 years. It is our goal that you and your children should have the right to explore and settle space in any way you wish, using your own resources and with the right to harvest the resources of space to build new human communities beyond Earth. Our “grand” goal is nothing less than the expansion of the life of this precious world and the people on it into the infinite universe.

Over time, we have met with much success—although changing how an entire civilization sees and reacts to the space around them requires a revolution of nothing less than Copernican proportions. And trying to change seemingly mindless juggernauts like the US space program… well…  And yet, we persevere.

Right now we are engaged in a major battle that unlike many of the nuanced and subtle fights we have fought in the past, which may result in a major and irreversible shift towards what we call “Frontier-Enabling” activities.

Our goal in this is battle is simple: to end the money-wasting, pork-barrel-stuffing and vision-crushing failure of a program known as Ares 1, as Bob Werb explained in his recent Orlando Sentinel editorial. Not only will this NASA-designed and -operated plan for a rocket never fly; it is also dangerous and directly competes with private sector vehicles that can do the same thing.

Why does that matter? Because if we can nurture a robust private sector human spaceflight industry, NASA saves taxpayers money and can focus on exploring—not driving space “trucks.” This will open space to anyone who can pay, bring market forces to bear on launch costs and eventually we’ll all get to go. This includes those who are fighting for Ares—who, if they succeed, will have helped ground themselves and those they are allegedly fighting for.

Here’s why you can’t be a friend of Ares 1 and support your own goals in space, whatever they may be (except bringing home pork barrel spending):

  1. You can’t be a friend of human space exploration And a friend of Ares 1.
  2. You can’t be a friend of ISS and a friend of Ares 1.
  3. You can’t be a friend of NewSpace and commercial space activities and support Ares 1.
  4. You can’t be a good Republican and support a socialist solution to transportation like Ares 1 when private sector solutions exist.
  5. You can’t be a good Democrat and support your president when a pro big aerospace industrial contractor worst government practices and anti – entrepreneur, anti-populist and eventually embarrassing failure of a program like Ares 1 exists.
  6. You also can’t claim the legacy of John Kennedy and allow Ares 1 to kill our chance of returning to the Moon and finishing the work Apollo started.
  7. You can’t be a friend of the astronaut corps and support Ares 1, which will limit their chances of getting into space and exploring other worlds. (Hello, Arizona Congresslady who is married to a former astronaut who will never fly again if the NewSpace rocketship firms can’t hire him!)
  8. You can’t be a friend of the taxpayer and a friend of a billion dollar rip off like Ares 1.
  9. You can’t be a friend of using space exploration and using it to inspire children if you support a dead end, elitist, opportunity killing, and in the end hope dashing program like Ares 1.
  10. You can’t be a friend of NASA and be pro-Ares 1, as it will suck money from anything else the space agency wants to do from now on—when the agency could be leaving deliveries and transport to the private sector and focusing on science and exploration, where it excels.

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