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The best way to make a profit as an aerospace company is to fail

Reuters/Mike Blake
It’s time for NASA to suit up.
  • Howard Bloom
By Howard Bloom

Founder and chair, Space Development Steering Committee | Quartz Pro

Americans haven’t gone to outer space on American-made rockets for almost a decade—since July 8, 2011, to be precise.

NASA has paid up to $81.7 million per seat to get American astronauts into orbit onboard Russian Soyuz capsules. Meanwhile, China has moved ahead on its plans to dominate space and the vast resources beyond our atmosphere by 2049, which happens to be the 100th anniversary of the revolution that put China’s Communist Party in power. As international political analyst Namrata Goswami has pointed out, China has met every one of its space program’s target dates.

For years, the space military industrial complex, or SMIC—a hugely profitable handful of American defense companies including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing, among other suppliers—has promoted and funded programs that have guaranteed Americans cannot get to space using American vehicles.

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