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In the upcoming years, SpaceX has extremely high ambitions for space travel to Mars

The millionaire brainiac behind the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) program has high ambitions of future private space exploration. Founder Elon Musk seeks a trip to the Red Planet of Mars before NASA's mid-2030s current projected timeframe.

Of course, Musk and SpaceX have delayed projects and failed tests in the past, but have shown great promise in current projects. SpaceX also continues to collect funds from NASA and other contractors looking to help go into space.

NASA's interest on the private sector relies on the hope of being able to use the SpaceX Dragon as an astronaut ferry into space, while the Falcon Heavy can carry cargo. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy successfully broke the $1,000-per-pound-to-orbit barrier at a time when space industry experts thought it couldn't be done at the time.

NASA and the US federal government are relying more on private contractors to help in the future -- SpaceX and its rivals will be more than happy to pick up the research slack. The SpaceX Dragon capsule may be prepared for launch in the next five years, with thoughts also on manned mission to Mars. Until then, the company recently announced it will invest $30 million for Space Launch Complex 4-East, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base. 

It's believed up to 1,000 employees could be employed at the facility in the next four years. SpaceX plans to launch aircraft and test projects from the popular launching site, while competitors look for other launch sites.

The private space market is growing with even more companies trying to snag government funding -- and SpaceX will have to face the United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket, along with foreign-based projects.

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RE: Good thing
By Jeffk464 on 7/17/2011 5:00:12 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah bizarre isn't it, the US is broke so we borrow money from China. We then turn around and use that borrowed chinese money to buy more stuff from china. Isn't that kind of like using a solar panel to power a light that in turn is the sole source of light for the solar panel?

RE: Good thing
By Solandri on 7/17/2011 11:51:17 PM , Rating: 3
Your solar panel and light is a negative-sum game - you lose energy at each step. If you make wise economic decisions, economics is a positive-sum game - both the buyer and seller are better off because of their transaction.

In China's case, they are deliberately underpricing their labor (by keeping the Yuan artificially low) in order to rapidly expand their industrial base. So a better analogy for China would be a store which is selling their merchandise at below-cost in order to gain market share. The U.S. is a customer who opens up a credit card with that store so it can buy even more of the underpriced merchandise. So it's actually negative for China but positive for the U.S.

Whether the U.S. should be opening up more credit cards in the first place is an entirely separate issue.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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