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Other Voices
The Space Frontier Foundation believes that the permanent human habitation of space can only be accomplished by unleashing true free enterprise. We are not alone in that belief, and we salute these "Other Voices" in the debate about how we should explore, develop, and settle the endless frontier of space.
1999 Robert Bigelow Speech
On August 25, 1999, Robert Bigelow, President and CEO, Bigelow Aerospace, gave the below speech at the NASA HabModule Commercialization Conference in Houston, Texas.
1.  What does NASA want to accomplish?
2.  What are NASA's current motivations for commercializing space? Why now?
3.  Does the current NASA leadership realize that commercialization and privatization of space are completely outside the current ideology of the rank and file of NASA employees?
4.  Does the current NASA leadership realize that setting NASA up to be in business is a direct violation of the 1958 charter creating its experience?
5.  Furthermore, and this is sure to be controversial, does NASA realize that, according to the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, there is no legal authority empowering a federal agency allowing that agency to be in a "business" activity unless otherwise specified by the United States Constitution? The 10th Amendment says, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people." The United States Government has the authority to run the Post Office, because it's specifically granted, but not the legal authority to permit a tax-exempt, taxpayer-supported federal agency to be in commercial aerospace competition against American companies.
Therefore, if NASA wants to begin a sincere dialogue toward commercializing and privatizing space, NASA must be a loyal customer and not an owner.
If the current efforts of Dan Tam and Dan Goldin to privatize and commercialize space sincerely follow this precept, then we support them.
The first country to successfully use private ownership business structure for commercializing and privatizing space will establish itself as an investment magnet. That country will dramatically leap ahead in the number of launches per year and the amount of diversity of payload. Launches will no longer be measured in the price per pound, but quoted as a price per launch. Imagine the power to reduce costs if you were launching 100 times a year. How would other countries keep up? Like Russia, they would have to privatize, unless it were too late.
Is there any aerospace company today that wouldn't trade places in a heartbeat with the price to earnings multiplies of computer-related companies? If you privatize, you connect yourself to the people, and the more people the better. Then when you go to Congress and ask them for money for the pure research projects you do best, they love you, because the public is now behind Congress. They feel they are connected to space and your budgets grow instead of shrinking year after year.
The American space industry is incomplete. It has been only for the select few. Flights are infrequent. Flights are pitifully expensive. And the public knows, and the Congress knows the public knows, that none of it is for them.  So what kind of publicly-funded, select fraternity is this agency called NASA?
I'll tell you what it is. It's an agency that can be the greatest on earth in the 21st Century, but may not be if it doesn't change its ways. Among other things, it is now time and strategically vital if NASA wants to enhance its public support and sincerely take an affirmative step toward privatization to designate at least one seat on the shuttle on every flight for people other than astronauts and politicians. It is time for this program to begin. With this step, significant results are possible in commercialization. This will result in the public, who pays for all these flights, to feel connected once they see entertainers, media people or Joe-Six-Pack being a true participant in America's space program.
The agency needs to be a customer, not an owner. The agency needs to be a multiple transaction thinker, not a single transaction thinker. Are you a single transaction thinker? A single transaction thinker tries to squeeze every dime for himself out of a transaction, to the detriment of the other participants. The single transaction thinker tries to make a killing off that one deal and loses sleep if anyone else makes money. Obviously, this is a recipe for failure if you wish to deal in high volume. Remember, it's high volume that reduces costs and prices.
A multiple transaction thinker wants to repeat as many transactions as possible in the shortest period of time. In order to do this, every participant must have a win-win result. They must conclude every transaction anxious to begin the next. If NASA is too greedy, they will spoil the chance to take an exclusive leadership position into the 21st century.
Internationally, small and large aerospace companies, in the next few years, will be forming themselves into space-developing consortiums. These space developers will go where the governmental laws allow them to operate as builders, owners and operators of habitable space systems. They will go where private ownership and freedom to operate their business is encouraged and where investment capital is available. Countries that encourage this will become investment magnets and will launch the greatest industry that mankind has ever seen.
Thank you.

More "Other Voices"
Comment about the "Space Program" by Dr. Herbert F. York on CBS's Face The Nation, June 8, 1958
Testimony of the late Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr. (Capt., USN, retired) on the future of space development, given before the U.S. Congress on October 1, 1998
Speech by Robert Bigelow (CEO, Bigelow Aerospace) at the NASA HabModule Commercialization Conference, August 24-26, 1999
Keynote Address by NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin at the Space Frontier Foundation's 8th annual conference, September 24, 1999

The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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