An Astronaut’s View Of The SpaceX/NASA Partnership

Spaceflight veteran Christina Koch says public-private partnerships mean NASA can focus on returning to the moon and exploring Mars.

By Rhonda FanningJune 1, 2020 2:09 pm

Saturday’s launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent two astronauts to the International Space Station or ISS. It was the first time in almost a decade that humans had left the Earth from U.S. soil, and it was also the first joint mission between NASA and a private company.

Christina Koch is a NASA astronaut who made four spacewalks and spent the longest amount of time on a single trip to space of any female astronaut. She told Texas standard host David Brown on Monday that the public-private partnership between NASA and SpaceX is likely going to become the norm for space exploration.

“Let’s bring companies on board to not only fly people to [the International Space station], but let’s bring companies on board to do the science,” Koch said. “I think the more partnerships the better.”

She said safety standards shouldn’t change as space exploration becomes more commercialized. SpaceX used NASA’s safety protocols in Saturday’s launch of the rocket that carried the Crew Dragon capsule.

That rocket is the first to send astronauts to space that is owned and operated by a private company. Koch said the model SpaceX and NASA used for the launch will be one other private companies can replicate in the future.

She also said having private space companies take over transporting astronauts to the ISS frees up NASA to focus on long-term projects like returning to the moon, and exploring Mars.

“It gave us the bandwidth to be able to focus our sights on the new and the deeper exploration,” she said

Web story by Caroline Covington.


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