National Aeronautics and Space
Congress should phase out the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). To that end, it should
• upon completion, sell off the international space station to private parties or, failing that, allow an owner-chartered station authority, not including NASA as the U.S. representative, to provide minimal station supervision; • allow the private sector to provide and pay for all future travel to and from the station as well as station operations, maintenance, and expansion; • sell off the space shuttle or, failing that, strictly enforce the ban on the shuttle's carrying cargoes that can be launched by the private sector and turn over as much of shuttle operations as possible to the private sector; • bar NASA from developing hardware, products, or services with potential commercial uses; and • build down government civilian space activities.
Sending Ohio's Sen. John Glenn, who in 1962 became the first American in orbit, back into space on the shuttle in 1998 was NASA's version of bread and circuses. But that sentimental journey begged the question, “Why, 35 years after Glenn's first trip, are there no regularly scheduled commercial flights into orbit?” The Wright Brothers' first flight was in 1903; in 1927 Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic; and by the late 1930s the first commercially viable aircraft, the DC-3, was up and flying.