SpaceX Inspiration4 Mission - The First All-Private Crewed Orbital Space Mission

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BEC

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Boeing's attitude is show me the money. Until then, they're willing to make a model mockup. (apologies to @BEC)
No apologies required. Boeing is not the company I was excited to join in 1979, and it was well on its way to where it is now when I took a voluntary layoff then retired in 2016. But since I'm living principally on a Boeing pension, I do want them to figure things out well enough to survive for the next 30 years at least.

I have been thoroughly enjoying watching all SpaceX is accomplishing and I still have some hopes (which are fading to some degree) that Blue Origin will give them some competition. As for all the "legacy" companies in the space business (not just Boeing)....let's just say my expectations are kind of low these days.
 

rklapp

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Considering how all four astronauts were not employees of the government or SpaceX I would count the "all-private" part of the statement as incontrovertible.
Plus the billionaire astronaut paid for it. Of course it’s all for charity (St. Judes) so it’s all a tax right off, right?
 

MJW

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All private/commercial enterprise in this country is government supported. Transport, communication, civil order, and everything else that business needs to exist is provided by government at some cost. I see no difference between that and paying NASA for use of their infrastructure. This mission definitely qualifies as all private in my book.
 

Huxter

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Plus the billionaire astronaut paid for it. Of course it’s all for charity (St. Judes) so it’s all a tax right off, right?
The goal for the mission was to raise $200 million for St. Judes. Jared paid $100 million, Elon paid $50 Million - that left $50 million - that was successfully raised!! Great job humans! :)

I’d say it’s 100% private, except for the toilet situation, which is way more public than you would want.
Still, anything that happens in space is freakin' :cool: And the view to 💩!!!
 

Pete.D

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Yes, but I doubt an organization like NASA ever expects a financial return. It would rather help a company with different kinds of contributions, such as land or equipment use (like tracking and comm), for a fee anywhere from "free" to "market value".
Other countries may be different (like Mexico, I think), but in the US aviation tracking and comm is "free", as is the use of most public airports. Since within the atmosphere a spacecraft is essentially the same as an airplane, you'd suppose the rules and fees would be the same. But they're not: current spacecraft require DEDICATED launch/recovery facilities, communications and tracking. So they should be charged for that; it's not cheap. Someday there won't be much distinction though... Like highways and roads are usually a free government service, yet there are modest special fees for over-length and over-width vehicles.
 

Funkworks

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Other countries may be different (like Mexico, I think), but in the US aviation tracking and comm is "free", as is the use of most public airports. Since within the atmosphere a spacecraft is essentially the same as an airplane, you'd suppose the rules and fees would be the same. But they're not: current spacecraft require DEDICATED launch/recovery facilities, communications and tracking. So they should be charged for that; it's not cheap. Someday there won't be much distinction though... Like highways and roads are usually a free government service, yet there are modest special fees for over-length and over-width vehicles.
My point is that NASA might give a good deal on anything to Space X (as the FAA to airlines), but it wouldn't expect a return.
 

MetricRocketeer

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My point is that NASA might give a good deal on anything to Space X (as the FAA to airlines), but it wouldn't expect a return.
Hi TRF colleagues,

So that's my point. And I direct this question to everyone:

Why should NASA give a good deal to SpaceX? NASA facilities belong to the public. What does the public receive from SpaceX's missions?

Incidentally, however, I do applaud SpaceX for using the metric system.

Stanley
 

boatgeek

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Hi TRF colleagues,

So that's my point. And I direct this question to everyone:

Why should NASA give a good deal to SpaceX? NASA facilities belong to the public. What does the public receive from SpaceX's missions?

Incidentally, however, I do applaud SpaceX for using the metric system.

Stanley
NASA should have either (a) charged SpaceX "market rate" for their services, or (b) partnered with SpaceX in some manner and gotten something useful in return for teh services they gave for free or at less than market rate. That partnership could be lots of things, and I don't really know what might interest NASA. One big item is data related to capsule re-use, since that is of interest to NASA for later ISS resupply/crewing flights. There's no doubt other things as well.

It's also possible that the services were given for free or at a reduced cost as a means of figuring out how much support will be needed to support additional crewed flights so that NASA can charge appropriately for them. For example, SpaceX might think that they only need one controller, but NASA might think that they need three. NASA might charge SpaceX for one and cover the cost of the other 2 themselves to make sure that they have safety buffers covered.
 

MetricRocketeer

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As I understand it, under the terms of the Commercial Resupply Services, NASA pays SpaceX to deliver cargo and supplies to the International Space Station.
 

MetricRocketeer

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Hi Antares JS and everyone else,

You cited the following statement that @boatgeek made:
(b) partnered with SpaceX in some manner and gotten something useful in return for teh services they gave for free or at less than market rate. That partnership could be lots of things, and I don't really know what might interest NASA.
In response, you referred to the Commercial Resupply Services. You did so, I assumed, to counter @boatgeek's argument. I didn't see how your reference did counter @boatgeek's argument.

So, please, just so everyone is on the same wavelength, may I ask what your point is.

Thank you.

Stanley
 

Antares JS

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Hi Antares JS and everyone else,

You cited the following statement that @boatgeek made:


In response, you referred to the Commercial Resupply Services. You did so, I assumed, to counter @boatgeek's argument. I didn't see how your reference did counter @boatgeek's argument.

So, please, just so everyone is on the same wavelength, may I ask what your point is.

Thank you.

Stanley
My point is that NASA HAS partnered with SpaceX and gotten something useful out of it. Boatgeek was talking about it as if it was hypothetical when it is actually happening.
 

Peartree

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As a federal agency, NASA is legally prohibited from making a profit, or from retaining funds made by commercial activity. They can, however, provide services at cost, or use some funds to offset other expenditures. It seems to be a fine line in regard to how much they can charge "over cost." Their mission, among others, is to *create* the opportunity for commercial activity without *becoming* a commercial activity. We all use GPS, but we don't pay much to the government for using it. We use all sorts of government funded services, from freeways, to the Coast Guard, to air traffic control, and we don't pay to use them, or at least the government cannot technically "profit" from them despite often holding a monopoly on those services.
 

boatgeek

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My point is that NASA HAS partnered with SpaceX and gotten something useful out of it. Boatgeek was talking about it as if it was hypothetical when it is actually happening.
I definitely agree that SpaceX and NASA have partnered on many projects in the past and present, from NASA contracts like Artemis, CRS, and ISS crew to research projects like the retro-propulsion work that was relevant to both F9 booster landings and powered landings on Mars. I'm just saying that if SpaceX asks NASA to incur some costs for their own private project, NASA should get something out of it, whether it's in cash or something else. I would say the same of any commercial company using NASA resources in the same way. Otherwise, NASA is either going to need more funding from Congress (good luck on that!) or will have ever-increasing demands on their time for the ground services.
 

MetricRocketeer

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My point is that NASA HAS partnered with SpaceX and gotten something useful out of it. Boatgeek was talking about it as if it was hypothetical when it is actually happening.
OK. Now I see what your argument is. Thank you for that.

Well, I hope that NASA -- on behalf of the American people -- has gotten something useful out of its partnership with SpaceX.

In fact, as I understand it, NASA has paid a substantial amount of money to SpaceX for the services that SpaceX has provided.

So SpaceX has gotten something out of the partnership. I hope that the American people have received services commensurate with NASA's expenditures. I trust that this is not becoming corporate welfare for SpaceX.
 
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boatgeek

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As a federal agency, NASA is legally prohibited from making a profit, or from retaining funds made by commercial activity. They can, however, provide services at cost, or use some funds to offset other expenditures. It seems to be a fine line in regard to how much they can charge "over cost." Their mission, among others, is to *create* the opportunity for commercial activity without *becoming* a commercial activity. We all use GPS, but we don't pay much to the government for using it. We use all sorts of government funded services, from freeways, to the Coast Guard, to air traffic control, and we don't pay to use them, or at least the government cannot technically "profit" from them despite often holding a monopoly on those services.
What I've usually seen for "at cost" has everything put into it. When the Coast Guard goes after some bozo who calls in a false alarm for the costs of the rescue effort, it includes the fuel, pilot's time, per-flight-hour acquisition costs of the airframes, per-flight-hour maintenance costs for the airframes, etc. That really runs up the bill by charging all of the costs. I don't think people get a credit for things that would have happened anyway (if the pilot hadn't flown this mission, would they have had to fly a training mission this month?).
 

boatgeek

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OK. Now I see what your argument is. Thank you for that.

Well, I hope that NASA -- on behalf of the American people -- has gotten some useful out of its partnership with SpaceX.

In fact, as I understand it, NASA has paid a substantial amount of money to SpaceX for the services that SpaceX has provided.

So SpaceX has gotten something out of the partnership. I hope that the American people have received services commensurate with NASA's expenditures. I trust that this is not becoming corporate welfare for SpaceX.
SpaceX has also saved NASA far, far more than whatever these mission costs were by driving down the price of an orbital launch.
 

Antares JS

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I definitely agree that SpaceX and NASA have partnered on many projects in the past and present, from NASA contracts like Artemis, CRS, and ISS crew to research projects like the retro-propulsion work that was relevant to both F9 booster landings and powered landings on Mars. I'm just saying that if SpaceX asks NASA to incur some costs for their own private project, NASA should get something out of it, whether it's in cash or something else. I would say the same of any commercial company using NASA resources in the same way. Otherwise, NASA is either going to need more funding from Congress (good luck on that!) or will have ever-increasing demands on their time for the ground services.
I think there is some misconception here on how the pad 39A lease happened. NASA offered it for lease to a private company because they determined they wouldn't need it anytime soon. SpaceX did not approach NASA and ask for it. SpaceX also competed with Blue Origin for the lease, and NASA awarded it to SpaceX because they believed SpaceX would be ready to use the pad sooner, which is a nice bit of foresight on NASA's part in retrospect. SpaceX now uses the pad and while I don't think they actually pay rent, they have to maintain and operate the pad at their own expense.
 

boatgeek

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One more and then I'm out. In early stages while we're still sorting out this commercial use of space thing, I'd also be OK with NASA giving SpaceX the support time in exchange for new tech data like details of how well the stainless steel body works on Starship. That might be a more or less formal arrangement, from a written contract to "hey, remember that you owe us a favor next time we want some technical data."
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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