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NASA plans to outsource its aging space telecoms

by on27 April 2022

Space is Neo-liberalism's final frontier 

Decades after the world worked out that the private sector was just as clueless at running business as governments, the US government has worked out a way of making some more rich people even richer by outsourcing of NASA's ageing space telecoms constellation.

NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation has served as the main link between the International Space Station and Earth, providing astronauts with constant connection to ground control as well as the ability to engage with the public and stay in touch with their loved ones.

Now it seems that the US government thinks that it can be magically made more efficient by outsourcing it to the usual suspect billionaires.

SpaceX has already lined up to be among companies that might replace services of NASA's aging space telecoms constellation that has kept the International Space Station connected to Earth for decades. For years,

NASA wants to retire the six aging satellites in the next decade and thinks it will be better in the hands of wealthy billionaires. The agency announced partnerships with six commercial satellite operators including SpaceX, U.K. company Inmarsat, American Viasat and Switzerland-based SES, to demonstrate how they could take care of NASA's space communication needs in the future.

NASA's Commercial Services Project Eli Naffah said the good thing about the deal is that there will not need to be any new TDRS satellites in the future.

"The plan is to allow the constellation to reach the end of its life and the commercial companies will have to come up with a different way of providing communication services to our missions.

During the outsourcing heyday of the 1980s, when governments were frantically trying to offload public companies to their mates, TDRS could not be outsourced because there was not much of private space industry.

Now that enough wealth has trickled up so that billionaires can build their own space companies, it seems that now is a good time to off load the TDRS too.


Last modified on 27 April 2022
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