Created by Joseph S. Diedrich and Naomi Brockwell
I’m Naomi Brockwell, and this is Positive Liberty–space edition.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX broke ground on the world’s first private commercial spaceport. Last week in the small border town of Brownsville, Texas, crews began moving the first yards of dirt to lay the foundation for the control center. The SpaceX port is expected to bring over 300 jobs and $85 million of investment capital to the impoverished city. Musk hopes to use the Brownsville port to launch cargo missions, commercial flights, and the first humans to Mars.
SpaceX also made headlines by securing a $2.6 billion NASA contract. Along with Boeing, SpaceX will transport astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station. Strained relations with Russia prompted the US government to seek alternative ways to send crew to the space station, and–as always–turning to the private sector made the most sense. This isn’t the first NASA contract for SpaceX. It’s Dragon craft recently made its 4th resupply mission to the space station, transporting experimental mice and a 3D printer to the orbiting outpost.
Virgin Galactic is inching ever closer to space tourism. Speaking on Late Night, entrepreneur Richard Branson announced that his company’s SpaceShipTwo would be ready for commercial operation by March 2015. So far, 800 would-be passengers have made down payments, securing their spot in spaceflight history. The Winklevoss twins even purchased their tickets with bitcoin. In addition to stargazing, Branson also intends to use his suborbital ships to transport earthly travelers at blistering speed: from London to New York in 45 minutes.
After decades of government control, the private sector is taking space travel to a whole new level. It won’t be long before you, too, can take a trip into outer space.