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NASA to Go Commercial?

michael posted about 13 years ago | from the non-refundable-ticket dept.

Space 210

jeffy124 writes: "CNN has an article about NASA possibly selling space. The idea comes from Russia, where they have have sent into space Pizza Hut pizza, talking picture frames, and magazines. The proposal includes ties with the entertainment industry, tourism, NASA merchandise, and hiring a nongovernment organization to manage the US areas of the International Space Station." If anyone has a link to this NASA draft document the article talks about, please post it below.

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Yaaahooooooo!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

justletmeinnow (315504) | about 13 years ago | (#2400572)


Get some PRIORITIES (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400651)

The worst terrorist attack in recorded history is taking place in Afghanistan as we speak, and you people are discussing the fact that CNN has an article about NASA possibly selling space and how the idea comes from Russia, where they have have sent into space Pizza Hut pizza, talking picture frames, and magazines????? My *god*, people GET SOME PRIORITIES!

The countless thousands of innocent people that will die at the hands of American murderers could give a good damn about selling space, money, your childish Lego models, your nerf toys and lack of a "fun" workplace, your Everquest/Diablo/D&D addiction, or any of the other ways you are trying to ignore the murder.

Re:Get some PRIORITIES (-1, Flamebait)

happyhippy (526970) | about 13 years ago | (#2400766)

Like you phucking think of it 24/7

Some fat chick said she goes out with bald guys... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400910)

She said she goes out with bald guys cause that's all she can get because of her fatness. She said fats chicks and other ugly women go out with bald guys because that's all that fat and ugly women can get. They don't want to have to compete with goodlooking women for hot men.

A fat woman just told me this so there you have it. Does that settle the debate?

My name is ass first post (-1, Offtopic)

QuestKing (219445) | about 13 years ago | (#2400575)

This is going to be a sweet first post... cuz I am wicked drunk and I am the first post to this shiznit artice.

Re:My name is ass first post (-1, Offtopic)

justletmeinnow (315504) | about 13 years ago | (#2400585)

See, your reflexes really do slow down! ;)

FP? with my luck (1)

kriebz (258828) | about 13 years ago | (#2400576)

well, the big white sides of the shuttle are exelent for bus-type posters

First post (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | about 13 years ago | (#2400577)

plus a comment - since the public doesn't seem to be behind NASA anymore, the private sector is the only way space will ever be explored. It's sad, really.

Why's it sad? (4, Funny)

Wakko Warner (324) | about 13 years ago | (#2400616)

What possible benefit can we, the public whose tax dollars support NASA, see from space exploration? Obviously, someone has decided that the money would be better spent elsewhere, and the only people I see complaining are the occasional Slashdot user.

Obviously, if we all wanted it, we'd be pissing away billions of dollars on space exploration, which so far has netted us a handful of rocks, Tang, and Astronaut Ice Cream.

Sad? Hardly. Unless you can't live without Tang.

- A.P.

Don't fuck with Tang. (3, Funny)

mosch (204) | about 13 years ago | (#2400642)

It's done more than that, it's also given us countless hours of quality PBS and Discovery channel programming, and Velcro! Can you even truly imagine life without Velcro?

That's odd - (2)

wirefarm (18470) | about 13 years ago | (#2400899)

Years ago, I saw a WWII Luftwaffe flight helmet liner that was secured with something that sure seemed to be Velcro. It was at some kind of flea market, over 10 years ago, but I remember the guy pointing it out.
Anyone else seen anything like this?
(And No, the guy didn't have any Gestapo 'Täng' for sale...)

Jim in Tokyo

Re:Why's it sad? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400710)

Yeah, that's right! Who needs knowledge if it doesn't get you something? I'm sure nobody really cares about what else there is in the universe, or where we came from in the first place.

We explore space to gain knowledge. Not all of that knowledge is of immediate or obvious use.

The Space program gave us... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400792)

Faster computers sooner, improved radio, jet, fuel and video communications gear. Cell phone access andtelephone/data service anywhere in the world. Microwave ovens. Improved tools, industrial processes, robotics and just about every other damn thing since 1960 has been improved indirectly or directly from space research and expenditures.

Space: Tons o' benefit (3, Insightful)

Toodles (60042) | about 13 years ago | (#2400797)

I highly recommend a book called "The High Road" by Ben Bova. Unlike most of Bova's work, this isn't fiction, but more of an essay regarding the need for increased investment and work towards space travel. No pictures available, the book is out of print, so an link is kinda pointless.

Even when the book was printed (1981), drastic cuts in space funding were evident. Remember this is BEFORE the Challenger incident! Many different sources are cited in this book to back up his facts, but I will still try to not stray from the obvious.

1. Satellites. Sat phones, many nodes of the Internet, GPS systems, XM radio, spy satellites, anti-spy satellites, the Star Wars program (Think Reagan, not Jar Jar) all owe their existence to satellites. You can complain about those all you want, some are pointless, but all have been put with the idealistic thought of making life better in general. Some fail, and some are to make money, but I am glad all of them are there.

2. Secondary technical innovations. Velcro, Most plastics, and tertiary technical advancements for such things as bone marrow transplants (Remember the old commercial with Jesse Jackson, specifically to rally support for the space program, citing bone marrow transplants as one of the effects of earlier space exploration?)

3. Energy. This is the one that bites my tail most that SHOULD have been done in the 70's, and still should be done. A Solar Power Station. The idea is a large satellite, positioned so that it is never blocked from the sun, could gather and redirect the energy to a large array of solar power cells (we're talking a few dozen square miles worth, but well worth it). Environmental impact would be nill, and the land could still be used for grazing by livestock. Just plop the array of cells into some flat section of New Mexico or Montana, and be done with it. The power that could be produced by such a station could easily be twice that of the energy produced by imported and domestic oil gathered at the same rate. While I would recommend reading this book for the full explanation, this link [] will take you to a PDF with an excellent overview if you cant find the book. Imagine, free, practically limitless energy available. The electricity could be used to separate water into hydrogen and water, so even transportation would benefit.

4. Economy. Every dollar spent into the space program would change hands an avarage of 8 times before 'settling'. This is a matter of spending money to make money. It creates jobs, technology, and even patriotism.

5. Survival of the Human Race. As unlikely as it may seem, the Earth is our biggest Single Point of Failure. If anything happens to the Earth in a manner that makes it inhospitable to human life, the race will end. We must, for the survival of the species eliminate that single point of failure. Asteroids, nasty bacteria(e.g. Ebola), greenhouse effect, are all problems whose affect on the race could be limited if we got rid of the single point of failure. However improbable, they are still possible, and the human race must overcome.

6. Moon exploration. Boy, I'd love to get my hands on a killogram of diterium(Hydrogen ion +3?). There's only a few metric ton naturally occuring on the planet, almost all in the oceans. But, its on the surface of the moon, and the lack of atmosphere makes extracting it from the dust (notice I didn't say 'soil'. Just the dust, no more than 2" deep, would yeild enough diterim to satisfy a huge energy consumption for an enourmous amount of time.

There are more, but I grow tired of typing. Space exploration is not for short sighted people. It has produced amazing results for the entire human race, and as pessimistic as it may sound, failing to properly support it by the Americans is both bad for the U.S. as a whole, and failure by the world to investigate further is accepting the eventual end of the human race.


Re:Space: Tons o' benefit (2, Informative)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about 13 years ago | (#2400931)

In addition to Ben Bova's piece, I also highly reccomend "The Overview Effect" by Frank White, which explains the transformation that happens in a person when they see the Earth from orbit or from on the way to the moon, as told in the astronaut's own words. It completely changes your life, your perspective on how you see the world. Seeing the earth as a single object creates incredible clarity of thought and foresight.

This is a very HIGHLY under-discussed side-effect of space exploration. Dennis Tito was the latest person to be profoundly amazed at this perspective.

Here is a link to Amazon's page: []

I reccomend checking Amazon Z-shops (click 'buy it used') because the street price is astronomical (pun intended.) It's published by an institute that normally does high priced scientific journals, and they haven't gotten the idea yet that even the common man need to read this book.

Re:First post (1)

secolactico (519805) | about 13 years ago | (#2400685)

Sad? Hardly. Most of the benefits of space exploration/research could translate into commercial gains (new materials developement, etc). Other than military uses and national pride, I see little reason for goverment to be the main driving force behind space exploration.

Of course, there are exceptions: imagine an ad-sponsored GPS system. Or weather satellites with the equivalent of pop-up windows.

Re:First post (1)

thopkins (70408) | about 13 years ago | (#2400719)

Of course, there are exceptions: imagine an ad-sponsored GPS system. Or weather satellites with the equivalent of pop-up windows.

I'd rather see ads on a free commercial product than have the government spend 4 times the amount of money with MY tax money to do the same thing.

Whitey on the Moon (-1)

trollercoaster (250101) | about 13 years ago | (#2400581)

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)
I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)
The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
I wonder why he's uppi' me?
('cause Whitey's on the moon?)
I wuz already payin' 'im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
An' as if all that shit wuzn't enough:
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an' arm began to swell.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Was all that money I made las' year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain't no money here?
(Hmm! Whitey's on the moon)
Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)

Bravo. (-1)

(c) Penis (525494) | about 13 years ago | (#2400809)

The smartest comment in this discussion. Seriously.

The Troll will not be televised! (-1)

egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2400854)

Good work, Gil Scott. Don't let the cockgnomes that run Slashdot treat you like Huey or H. Rap.

if thats what it takes (1)

jjshoe (410772) | about 13 years ago | (#2400586)

If thats what it takes for someone to fund them i say go ahead and do it. there is many things the government isnt so hot at. kudos to nasa for trying to find a way to fund itself instead of just collapsing.

i to hope i can some day vacation in space!

Re:if thats what it takes (5, Funny)

grammar nazi (197303) | about 13 years ago | (#2400660)

I always thought that Nike should hire NASA to dye a large part of the moon's surface with a swoosh(tm). Since the same side of the moon always faces the earth, then the entire world would be able to see the Nike swoosh(tm). This marketing would reach out to the entire world in an effective way for Nike.

Of course, most people would be against this, but Nike could find a way to label those people as communistic or something.

Re:if thats what it takes (1)

LWolenczak (10527) | about 13 years ago | (#2400897)

I think Nike got their swoosh from the greeks....

i like nasa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400588)

i like nasa

Re:i like nasa (2, Interesting)

iceburn (137875) | about 13 years ago | (#2400675)

That post is not Offtopic. Its also not a Troll and not Flamebait. There should be a -1 Stupid.

NASA: No Assets so Sell Access (2, Insightful)

dafoomie (521507) | about 13 years ago | (#2400591)

This could be good as long as it doesn't jeopardize what NASA is trying to do. Though, just that NASA HAS to do this for funding is scary, NASA should be fully funded... People don't realize the good that comes out of space exploration/research.

Re:NASA: No Assets so Sell Access (2, Insightful)

hendridm (302246) | about 13 years ago | (#2400752)

I don't think it's a matter of people not realizing its potential as much as politicans not agreeing what "full funding" means. Where do we draw the line between necessity and waste? Apparently, NASA wants to expand on what is necessary and continue to explore what is possible. I like space experimentation, so all the power to them...

Old plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400597)

Well, NASA has been trying to privatize space for years. Several years ago they had contests between a few different companies to try to come up with a new space vehicle design - the benefits of doing well at such a showing are obvious...

space... a resting place for bin laden (0, Insightful)

cup0spam (110291) | about 13 years ago | (#2400601)

After we are finished leveling afghanistan we should think about having NASA shoot bin laden into the sun with the rest of his american hating followers.

Re:space... a resting place for bin laden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400676)

Ha Ha - funny moderation: Flamebait

In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400603)

Dear Taliban,
You want a jihad? You got it.

I like the idea (1)

notext (461158) | about 13 years ago | (#2400605)

They just have to be sure they don't start doing what the big corporate sponsors want instead of what the public or nasa people want.

Money has a way of changing things.

mcdonalds.. (1)

jjshoe (410772) | about 13 years ago | (#2400610)

This is a freeze dried big mac? finaly! something in space that tastes just as good as it does on earth!

Pizza...mmm (0)

Doles (249848) | about 13 years ago | (#2400611)

If I were an astronaut I would totally be for this. I mean...getting a slice of Pizza over stuff in a pouch has to be nice. Now all they need is a few Jolt's, a PS2 and Devil May Cry and they'll be set. :-]

Re:Pizza...mmm (1)

norculf (146473) | about 13 years ago | (#2400643)

No women? I guess you could modify the urine tube thingie, but why not just bring the real thing?

Re:Pizza...mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400668)

Ewww...Someone please mod this as (-1, Disgusting)...

Re:Pizza...mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400742)

Hey it is a legitimate concern for most people. We can't all castrate ourselves with sporks once we realise that Natalie has shown the world her breasts.

Re:Pizza...mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400768)

Natalie has done WHAT??!!!! Where can I find these pictures? Please tell me there are pictures!

Re:Pizza...mmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400780) rtman/page1.htm

Is this worth it? (3, Interesting)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | about 13 years ago | (#2400614)

I don't really understand how much this could help NASA. Ask the average Joe-on-the-street when the next Shuttle launch is and I doubt he could answer you. Shit, I can't answer you.

NASA started losing its appeal to the everyman around the late 80's, following the Challenger explosion. Everyone knows Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but I doubt the average Joe could tell you the name of any of the people crewing the shuttle right now. I know I can't without a little Google searching.

So really, how effective a marketing scheme will this be? Who's turning on the television to see the ads plastered on the side of the Shuttle prior to launch? What Newspaper prints a front page story about the shuttle launch? What kind of exposure would a Playstation 2 ad get on the Shuttle versus the kind of exposure it would get during the Superbowl, or the World Series, or a "Very Special Episode of 'Felicity'"?

I think it's wonderful that NASA is seeking out private funding, since the powers that be are no longer interested in the space program. I just have to wonder what kind of revenue a space shuttle advertisement would bring, and if that revenue would be any more than a drop in the bucket compared to the total cost of operating the shuttle.

Re:Is this worth it? (3, Insightful)

or_smth (473159) | about 13 years ago | (#2400629)

I'd really have to disagree with this, I think the reason that the public doesn't know anything about the space missions now is because it isn't thrown in there face at all. Nobody advertises anything with space, unless its as some stupid joke. Getting a little publicity during the superbowl could really make people go "wow, I forgot about that".

NASA lost appeal before challenger explosion (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | about 13 years ago | (#2400771)

For myself, and I think many Americans, NASA lost its appeal when it launched the Shuttle program. Even in school I knew it was going to be one big expensive beaureucratic bog. I remember specifically asking them for pictures of the Moon and Apollo for a class project, instead they sent me pictures of the Space Shuttle and some letter saying it how this is really what I wanted.
Decades later I don't feel the space program has moved but a teeny tiny bit because of the Shuttle. Oh, some of the cheap projects like DS1 and Pathfinder were great, but all the Shuttle stuff (and now space station) is garbage. The Shuttle cost more than it would have cost to keep using the older non-reusable rockets.
With the Shuttle, NASA tried to make space part of everyday, but instead it got the "humdrum" part right, but missed the everyday part. The Shuttle is virtually useless, and completely uninspiring.
NASA should have gone for a moon base instead, we'd be much further along with technology I think.

Ahhh, Russia (4, Funny)

TheDarkRogue (245521) | about 13 years ago | (#2400617)

hmm, If we keep taking ideas from russia soon we ill be able to buy a shuttle on ebay or for a bit less a trip into space, with training. Good old Russia.

Private companies and space... (3, Interesting)

Migelikor1 (308578) | about 13 years ago | (#2400620)

As a big supporter of private access to space, this does not seem like such a good thing for the american public. NASA started off as a wonderful, if costly, employment plan that showed the Russians we had ICBMs, but is now charged with maintaining their own finances. That's all well and good, but NASA still has government beaurocracy and inertia holding it back. Small private companies, attempting to develop reusable access vehicles, are more likely to be efficient and innovative in their approaches than the dinosaur that is most of NASA (admittedly, some of the departments are quite good, like the recent jury rig to survey a comet.) In order to get funding, those companies were going to need investment from large companies, which would go into developing their businesses. I fear that NASA has beaten them to the punch, and the investment dollars will be thrown at the beaurocracy to dissapear.

P.S. Before anybody whines, advertising is a form of investment like any other. You give somebody money, and hope you get more back while they use it.

Re:Private companies and space... (2, Interesting)

paul7e (17646) | about 13 years ago | (#2400671)

Just privatizing/commercializing something doesn't often solve the problems inherent in it - NASA with or without advertising has a large bureaucracy, which is both a resource (lots o' talent) and a disadvatage (lots o' paychecks).

Selling advertising, while retaining a government near-monopoly on space exploration, won't help the resource/advantage equation get better.

COMPETITION would - allow NASA to advertise, sure, but ALSO allow other private space-exploration ventures the same regulatory advantages NASA has.

This doesn't mean that I want the private sector to win (I think there's been a lot of benefits to the government having a serious space presence). However, by introducing competition, "Winning" for the NASA bureacracy would change from "getting a Congressional appropriation" or "retiring successfully with a Federal Retirement Account" to "kicking those upstart private space jockeys ass" - a much more powerful motivator.

And if NASA doesn't win, at least somebody will, and space will continue to be paid attention to. After all, in the current model, if NASA "loses", their funding dries up and they shut down.

So, Go Team NASA! Beat the corporate space guys!


Re:Private companies and space... (2, Interesting)

Migelikor1 (308578) | about 13 years ago | (#2400687)

Problem posed:

Advertisement goes to NASA
Advertisement doesn't go to upstarts

Upstarts, via chain above, can't make attempts. Fail, due to being broke. NASA continues to be big and antiquated.

It worked before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400680)

Th military invented the internet and then gave it to us and made their own milnet for themselves. Maybe Nasa will go that way too. InterNasa and MilNasa. You and I have a chance of going to space yet.

That's okay with me. (4, Funny)

tcc (140386) | about 13 years ago | (#2400622)

That's the most brilliant idea that I've read in weeks... sending the entertainment people in orbit!

Send the people behind RIAA and MPAA into space, you'll get out full undivided support!

Oh and don't send too much oxygen... you know, it costs 1000$/KG so, you can try to save on that issue... especially if you are commercial, you must turn into profits... just a suggestion :)

Muslims beware; hey I'm talking to YOU, raghead. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400628)

Ifyou are Muslim, you are dead meat. We are going to hunt you down, and xterminate you.
No cave is too deep, no desert too far. Your time is up.

Check list for Muslims:

  1. Bend over.
  2. Put your head between your legs.
  3. Kiss your sorry asshole^h^h^h^h^h Mohammed goodbye.
We will wrap you in pig skin and stuff your sorry shit faced Muslim corpses with pork lard.

Re:Muslims beware; hey I'm talking to YOU, raghead (0)

happyhippy (526970) | about 13 years ago | (#2400962)

Nice to see stupid rednecks have net access.


Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400633)

anyone who gets this deserves a nickel.

The real reason NASA fight Russian privatisation: (2)

rodgerd (402) | about 13 years ago | (#2400644)

Strangling the competition at birth.

Safety my arse.

Stephen King, author, dead at 54 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400652)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Stephen King, author, dead at 54 (1)

Escher0 (525081) | about 13 years ago | (#2400689)

I think you have your story wrong. The guy who hit Stephen King with a Jeep was found dead in Maine, not Stephen King. Read the story here: ngdriverdead092400.html

Not! (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | about 13 years ago | (#2400786)

Don't scare me like that.

Better Idea (5, Funny)

SMN (33356) | about 13 years ago | (#2400654)

Yes, many technological devices and mediums rely on commercial advertising -- look at TV/Radio, Newspapers/Magazines, the Internet, etc. Yes, NASA could benefit greatly by doing the same.

But if we're going to take a cue from history, let's point NASA toward the real profit from technology lies: Porn.

No, really, think about it. Early photographs? Porn. Videos? Porn. DVDs? Why, Porn again! And don't even get me started on where all the "innovations" in Internet commerce and advertising have come from -- we may all hate the X10 ads, but they're using both innovation AND implied voyeurism to make a profit.

Now, just imagine what NASA could do by selling Space Porn. I'm sure that millions of guys across America would be "curious" enough to pay a few bucks to see sex in space. And any modeling company would love it -- no mode need for Wonderbras for lift, since there's no gravity to make them fall. And they'd bring about a whole new wave of public interest in space travel and technology (surely this would be more effective in creating public interest than the proposed return-to-the-moon plans)!

Let's face it -- a little Porn goes a long way toward the technological advancement of the human race. Abandon your silly preconceived morals and let the avarice take control.

(Moderators: With any luck, this will be funny. But it might be a troll. I'm honestly not sure =)

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400711)

Better still, don't call it porn, instead call it an "Effects of zero-gravitation upon human reproduction" study, then sell ad space on the research.

Re:Better Idea (1)

TheDarkRogue (245521) | about 13 years ago | (#2400776)

It popped up in conversation one day, and I really have wondered about this, and please please please don't take this as a troll, but has anyone from earth had sex in space yet? I mean, what stops 2 scientists from going into the payload section and having a quickie? Scientists are humans too, and have the same urges as everyone else. Has there been any documentation of intercourse in space, of any country?

(Moderators: I Understand that this is a dangerous thread to reply to, but I really am slightly curious, I am honestly not trying to troll)

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400799)

Most scientists are male. Do you REALLY want to know?

It's impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400810)

Ever tried to have sex while in a space suit?

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400827)

What's with the little notes to moderators that are becoming popular these days..? I feel like a TA grading a test... "Note to TAs: I know I'm supposed to use the difference of squares rule, but I forgot the formula".

You may be on to something! (3, Informative)

wirefarm (18470) | about 13 years ago | (#2400884)

Well that would explain the following two links:

Nasa []

And this:

Lena []

For those of you unfamiliar with the Lena Image,(or Lenna, if you like,):
To test image compression technologies, engineers use a standard picture to compare the results. What did they use? A scan of a 1972 Playboy centerfold, of course!

Jim in Tokyo

Hipocritical... (2, Interesting)

Millyways (262662) | about 13 years ago | (#2400662)

It was less than a year ago that the USA was putting up such a fight about Russia commecialising space by flying the worlds fist space tourist to the ISS and now they are preposing commecialisation along a very similar direction.

I think the USA was scared off the whole space tourism thing by the Challenger disaster which also happened to be carrying the first non-astronaught to ride on the shuttle. If this new proposal can bring more funding into NASA it could be a big bonus not only for space bound activities, but for the R&D that filters down and eventually end up enhancing our lives.

Re:Hipocritical... (2, Informative)

paul7e (17646) | about 13 years ago | (#2400683)

Minor point - Senator Jake Garn (R-UT, but did I really need to put in the R when I said UT?) was the first non-astronaut to ride on the shuttle - from NASA's web site: "Senator Garn flew as a payload specialist on STS-51D Discovery (April 12-19, 1985)"

But as a Senator, and retired Navy Pilot and Colonel in the Utah Air National Guard, he wasn't necessarily the first _civilian_ in space; which is what they were trying to put up on the Challenger.

Money is always good to have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400670)

A few years ago, when I first left college looking for work as a chemist, one of the jobs I applied for was project with NASA. Unfortunately, NASA didn't have the funding to pay for the study that it was requesting, and as such there really wasn't a job immediately. As such while waiting on the money to actually appear, I ended up in corporate america. I have no idea as to whether the project ever was actually done, as I moved on and forgot about it, and moved on to formulating mouthwash for the mass market.

Funny how everyone always complains about what scientists don't study, but no one wants to foot the bill to allow them to do it. If this idea to commercialize space puts even a dime into real research, we might actually learn something. But as it stands, all anyone seems to want from most scientists are consumer products (toys) and the rest be damned, judging by where we put our money actually. I say this can't hurt to try it.

About Time (0)

jwhyche (6192) | about 13 years ago | (#2400672)

Got plenty of room on that baby. Lets take a clue from Nascar and deck the space shuttle, tanks, and even rocket bosters out. Shoot, slap some sponsor patches on the astronauts too.

But I have to draw the line at billboards in space. I don't want to step out on a night as see Pizza Hut blasted across the moon or be looking at the perfect night and see a Coke add float by.

OT: red moon joke (1)

gloth (180149) | about 13 years ago | (#2400691)

To demonstrate the superiority of Communism, the soviets sent a bunch of spacecraft to the moon and painted it all in red, for everyont on earth to see and admire.

Then the Americans plotted to bring Capitalism to its final victory: they flew up there with a bunch of white and painted the Coca Cola sign onto it.

Why not? (1)

DoomPlague (317095) | about 13 years ago | (#2400704)

Commercialization(is that right?) is how our our world works.

It's surprising NASA has gotten as far as they have with just government funds. Ofcourse, how much money is in space? Just advertising for now but I guess someday mining will come into play and eventually other things. Space exploration can't always be something left for a handful of government employees.

meters (1)

manon (112081) | about 13 years ago | (#2400705)

So what is the price for one m^3?
I always wanted my own spot in space. You know... to spend my old days.
I'm going the full monty with this :)
I want my cubic meter of emptyness!

Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400707)


B&B (1)

jpm242 (202316) | about 13 years ago | (#2400713)

How about setting up a bed & breakfast in the ISS?

"But the brochure said that the window offered a view *towards* the earth!"


Ah (1)

nexex (256614) | about 13 years ago | (#2400714)

Just imagine, your out for a nice weekend camping trip and instead of that unsightly milky way blocking the view, you are greeted by familiar images of Coke, Intel, Tommy Hilfiger, and of course Microsoft. *This sky brought to in part by...*

Don't sell the naming rights! (2)

Erbo (384) | about 13 years ago | (#2400716)

Commercialization is probably an OK long as they don't decide to rename the station "Invesco Space Station at 241 Miles High."

(Colorado residents will get this joke instantly)


Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400718)

if they were to have ads on the side of the shuttle, it would be a one time deal. they would be burned off during re-entry.

NASA, advertising, and racing (2)

martyb (196687) | about 13 years ago | (#2400725)

This slashdot article [] (Private Rocketplane Test a Success) suggests:

The primary goal is development of reusable launch technology that leads next to a high altitude sub-orbital rocket vehicle for space tourism, rocket racing (e.g. vertical drag racing at air shows) and the X-Prize competition.

I can just see it now... rocket races televised around the world, with each rocket as coated with advertising as currently exists in NASCAR? Hey! maybe they''ll call it NASACAR racing? ;^)

But seriously, auto racing has sponsorship from the major car manufacturers. There's bragging rights at stake when Chevy beats Ford at NASCAR, or Ferrari bests McLauren at Formula 1. As commercialization of space proceeds, I suspect commercial rocket ventures will similarly sponsor racer's rockets to "boost" mind share in the marketplace.

Re:NASA, advertising, and racing (2)

Pulzar (81031) | about 13 years ago | (#2400849)

The Onion [] has already come up with that idea, in their article "NASA and NASCAR merge". Unforunately, I can't find it in their archives :(.. I can remember a very funny photo of a space shuttle, covered with NASCAR-style ads, racing along with other cars.

If anyone has the link/cached version, I'd love to see it again.

That's it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400730)

Come on, terrorists... blow this fucking country up now... put it out of its fucking misery...

No hugging Tito (1)

Dag Maggot (139855) | about 13 years ago | (#2400732)

From the article

All this from a space agency that forbade its astronauts from hugging Tito on camera during his weeklong visit to the international space station, and which for years balked at even giving a name to the orbital complex. (It's now called Alpha thanks to its gutsy first commander.)

That is the most idiotic thing I've heard in a long time. If you were not a proponent of privatising space exploration, you should be after reading that paragraph.

Nasa's budget for 2001 is 14,035,300. [] Yes folks, that's 14 billion dollars. Take a significant fraction of that- Say 3 billion dollars and offer it to the first organisation that puts people on Mars for over a month and returns them.

Privatise the space station and make it pay for itself via advertising and space tourists. ("Yum, nothing tastes better than a hot Domino's Pizza in 0 gravity, and it still arrived in less than 30 minutes!")

Replace the aging white elephant space shuttle with cheaper heavy lift boosters.

Use the rest of the money for holding up core Nasa programs like the Hubble.

Just my two cents... flame throwers- Ready... aim...

Re:No hugging Tito (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400885)

Umm... 14,035,300 is 14 million 35 thousand 3 hundred .. you need another string of zeroes there to be 14 billion.

Great line from Fight Club (3)

banky (9941) | about 13 years ago | (#2400734)

"When space travel ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything. The IBM Stellar Sphere. The Microsoft Galaxy. Planet Starbucks."

NASA sponsors Greg Biffle in the BGN series (-1)

Qwaz (250711) | about 13 years ago | (#2400737)

so why not sell space?

Read more here [] .

Here's the report. (5, Informative)

ectoraige (123390) | about 13 years ago | (#2400746)

As per your request, here's the report [] .

Old news, was released Sep 24, here's [] 's report from the following day.

Oh, and this would've been posted earlie, but I couldn't log in, what's up with that?

Re:Here's the report. (1)

ectoraige (123390) | about 13 years ago | (#2400779)

I'm just after the karma now... Nasawatch [] has a rumour about shuttle commercialisation too... no background there so here's the text:

Word has it that Ron Dittemore, Space Shuttle Program Manager at JSC, will be holding an all-hands meeting today to discuss "shuttle commercialization". According to NASA sources, Dittemore will be discussing an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) concept that has
been developed that would operate the Space Shuttle program. This concept has been under development for the last 9 months. Dittemore will
reportedly pitch this concept as being seamless as far as civil servants are concerned with equivalent benefits, significant sign-up bonuses, and guaranteed job security. Dittemore has reportedly expressed personal interest in heading this new organization.

Behind the scenes there is little interest among Dittemore's crowd in actually saving the government money. Rather, this is simply seen as a way to lower the number of federal employees involved in America's civil space program.

Update: Note from

"Mr. Dittemore spoke about a "concept" where a private company would run the Space Shuttle Program. It was not commercialization, but "privatization". It has nothing to do with saving money. It will probably cost the government more money. He said it was in the interest of safety.

Since NASA cannot hire new people and grow them to be managers/engineers, there is no one to run the program safely in the future. That is true since most of the shuttle program folks came from MOD which is mostly all contractors now. This "concept" will work only if all the right people
with the right job skills needed to run the program safely, accept the offer to move over. Highly unlikely. We are talking about mission operations, flight design, flight directors, astronauts, program/project managers, ground operations, aircraft operations, launch operations, etc. Only the civil servants in the Engineering Directorates appear to be spared from this excercise in futility. He said it would happen in 2 years. That's unbelievable, the way the government works!"

Boom for Real Estate Agents (1)

heretic108 (454817) | about 13 years ago | (#2400749)

So can we look forward to NASA taking it upon itself to sell chunks of outer space as real estate?

If so, how would it work? Would each country 'own' the outer space directly above it?

And who would own those areas of space above international waters?

And how would rents for space be calculated for non-geostationary satellites? Would the passes over India, say, be cheaper than passes over USA?

Personal Ads in Space (1, Funny)

AnimeFreak (223792) | about 13 years ago | (#2400756)

Imagine this, you look into the sky and see a giant billboard saying "Looking for female, preferably okay with multiple computers in house. I like to cook, walk, and sing." That personal ad could be seen by the entire population of the planet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400757)

Here's the report: 2

I cant wait... (1)

happyhippy (526970) | about 13 years ago | (#2400777) sue Mc Donalds when a chunk of its advertising hits my back yard.

huge penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400788)

They entered into what seemed to be a dungeon. It was dimly lit. CmdrTaco looked around. He saw a small matress laying on the floor with metal rods at the four corners with holes to hold handcuffs in. He saw a colonial headrack; a small device that holds your head and hands in small holes in a slab of wood. "Probably perfect for spanking," thought CmdrTaco. Hemos led him over to a small table. "You will be my sex slave from this moment on. You will do whatever I tell you to do without a moment's hesitation. I am your teacher, you are the student. Also, you are NEVER to talk unless I ask you a question," Hemos told the small CmdrTaco. "Yes sir," was CmdrTaco's stupid reply. "Fool, did I ask a question? No! You are not to talk unless I ask a question! You will be punished! Take all of your clothes off now." CmdrTaco stripped down to the nude. Hemos was impressed by his 8" piece of meat. He had expected it at around 6" or so. CmdrTaco's cock was rockhard and standing straight in the air, almost pointing at Hemos. Hemos took a small chain with a clip on each end from the table. "If you make ANY sound at all, I will whip your ass until it is red," Hemos told CmdrTaco. Hemos opened the clasp of the one clip and placed it on CmdrTaco's right breast and clipped the other to his left. CmdrTaco bit his bottom lip but remained silent. "Lay down on that matress," Hemos commanded and CmdrTaco did as he was told. Hemos then cuffed his two wrists and his two ankles to the rods at the corners of the matress. Hemos then stripped out of his Slashdot uniform. CmdrTaco gapped at Hemos's enormous penis. It was 9", but it wasn't just its length, but it's WIDTH! It was the biggest cock he had ever seen. Hemos squatted over CmdrTaco as drips of precum emerged from his cock head. CmdrTaco almost fainted from the heavy, musty smell of Hemos. It was heaven! Hemos was truely a man. "Don't take it all in at once," Hemos instructed, "Tease it." CmdrTaco began to slowly lick at the eye of his cock and sucked up the precum. He then opened his mouth wider to take in Hemos's cockhead and then his thick shaft. Hemos moaned with enjoyment. CmdrTaco strained to take it all in "Ohh! Ohh!," screamed Hemos in ectasy. "I'm coming! I'm cummmmmmmmming!," he screamed again. CmdrTaco's eyes widened to the size of Hemos's massives balls when Hemos shot a tankful of manly juice into his mouth. It was the biggest load he ever sucked outta a man! He struggled to drink it all but some of it leaked out the corners of his mouth. "Stupid slave! You were supposed to drink it all! Now, drink this!" Hemos stood up and grabbed his cock. CmdrTaco knew what was coming and opened his mouth wide. Suddenly, a stream of piss erupted from the giant meat of Hemos and sprayed into CmdrTaco's mouth. CmdrTaco made sure this time to drink it all.

Re:huge penis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400851)

HAHA! If he doesnt give you a "+4, Funny" you will have to wonder if its true!!

I think we should.... (1)

tq_at_sju (218880) | about 13 years ago | (#2400837)

i think we should send dave thomas into space, ya know the wendy's guy, that way he can try to sell his awful greasy hamburgers up there, plus he's really annoying don't ya think ? And we can send other people who have outlived their stay on earth, such as ronald mcdonald, but please keep the hamburgler hehehe


egg troll (515396) | about 13 years ago | (#2400839)

Okay you turd burglars! What have you done with my reply links???!

Courtney Stadd: Goldin's Successor (4, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | about 13 years ago | (#2400843)

Goldin put the space agency's chief of staff and White House liaison, Courtney Stadd, in charge of the commercialization effort last May

Courtney Stadd took over the Office of Commercial Space at the Department of Commerce shortly after Malcolm Baldridge, then Secretary of Commerce, died after a fall from a horse. Stadd had previously been working at NASA.

Baldridge had established the Office of Commercial Space in response to difficulties he had with NASA accepting private overtures at a Commercially Developed Space Facility (CDSF) aka the Industrial Space Facility (ISF) [] -- a man-tended orbital laboratory, entirely financed by private capital -- which would have been in orbit in the late 1980s if NASA had merely signed on as an "anchor tenant" -- procuring space on the laboratory as a customer -- as would have been allowed by Reagan policy and later law.

If you notice at this link [] another individual with close association to Stadd is Scott Pace. Scott Pace has involvement in this story of the Baldridge-era Office of Space Commerce as well.

The CDSF era was a time of misguided political activism on my part (I now know direct technology development to be far more revolutionary and threatening to the would-be "powers that be"), and I had sent a letter to the National Space Society's "Space World" editor. The letter concerned the appropriate division between private sector and public sector responsiblities. I made reference to patent law's distinction between technology (patentable) and science (unpatentable) as a guideline. Courtney Stadd had recently hired Scott Pace to work under him at the Office of Commercial Space. As someone who watched the tragic demise of the CDSF at the hands of NASA interests in teh wake of Baldridge's death, and who had actively supported the ISF, I complained to the Secretary of Commerce that I Pace should not be retained due to the potential conflict of interest represented by his participation with the various organizations surrounding the National Space Society. According to verbal reports to me, the letter of mine on patent-law-guided space commerce policy was being submitted for final publication when Pace appeared in the offices of the NSS where the editors of the NSS's "Space World" were making their deliberations. Pace rather boldly asserted that they shoudl not publish my letter and spoke of the fact that I was trying to get him fired in the same context -- as though that were somehow justification.

In this light, it is interesting that Courtney Stadd is now in line to become Goldin's successor:

Intrigue Swirls Around NASA Chief Goldin, Possible Successor

By Steven Siceloff, FLORIDA TODAY posted: 11:10 am ET, 04 October 2001

NASA Chief Rallies Troops After Terrorist Attacks

NASA Spells Out its Space Commerce Agenda

CAPE CANAVERAL - Two NASA memos issued last week look for the most part like any of the dozens that have flowed from the agency. But NASA Chief of Staff Courtney Stadd signed them instead of Administrator Dan Goldin.

It is unusual for sweeping directives such as the travel restrictions released last week to carry anyone's name other than the administrator's. The incidental change offers a glimpse into the intrigue that has swirled around Goldin since last November's election.

Agency observers and White House officials have long seen Stadd as an administrator candidate.

Those views gained intensity in late August and September. Then the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 pushed the government into a war footing. NASA issues plunged to the depths of the White House's to-do list.

Stadd holds considerable sway over NASA since he was appointed by the Bush administration, said Federation of American Scientists analyst Charles Vick.

"I think a lot of responsibility is falling on his shoulders," Vick said. "This administration doesn't give a blast about NASA now, and didn't before the events of Sept. 11."

Howard McCurdy, a space policy professor at American University in Washington, D.C., said Goldin faces an unusual situation: plural leadership of a federal agency.

Instead of a single man at the helm, the White House has Goldin and Stadd to run NASA together. "This is a 70-year-old technique in Washington," McCurdy said.

Vice President Al Gore was sufficiently interested in space during the previous presidency that a deputy NASA administrator was not necessary, McCurdy suggested.

While not dismissing McCurdy's suggestion, Goldin press secretary Glenn Mahone said that Stadd's Chief of Staff position is next in line after the vacant Deputy Administrator slot.

The new initiatives are not a sign of a power shift at NASA, but rather a sign that Stadd is comfortable with the agency and the role he has held in it since January, Mahone said.

"It isn't any signal," Mahone said. "Courtney now has his footing in the agency. It's a growing process."

But other NASA watchers said leadership at NASA has been diluted for lack of interest.

"There is a growing perception that Dan is going to be an administrator for life," said John Pike, director of the Alexandria, Va.-based thinktank "This should have been taken care of in the spring. It's indicative of the unusually low priority that NASA has been accorded. Now it is even further from the front of the stove."

The White House plucked Stadd from his commercial space business as a liaison between Clinton Administration holdover Goldin and Bush's staff. "There's certainly been a view that Courtney was providing the adult supervision during the transition to a new administrator," Pike said.

Uncertainty is something agency employees have had to deal with for months. It faces a $4.8 billion cost overrun in the International Space Station program and shortfalls in the space shuttle program. The agency also must find a new director at Johnson Space Center in Houston and a new administrator.

That's amore (1)

Clever Daughter (264705) | about 13 years ago | (#2400868)

So what does it mean when a pizza pie hits the moon?

Think big. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2400876)

If NASA wants the public's attention they have to do more whiz-bang stuff. It doesn't have to be difficult or important, it just has to be a good show... I suggest shooting nukes at the moon.

Pepsico and NASA sign Landmark Deal (3, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 13 years ago | (#2400886)

In a landmark licensing deal, Pepsico Inc (PEP) and NASA announced today that Pepsi has purchased the naming rights to the historic Apollo lunar missions. This agreement is valued at over $4 Billion and gives Pepsi exlusive naming rights to all events relating to the former Apollo program for the next 30 years. Pepsi's restaraunt partners are also participating in this deal.

As part of this deal, "Tranquility Base" will be redubbed "Pepsi Tranquility Base (tm)". The Apollo 11 mission itself will know be known as "Taco Bell Run Beyond the Border 11 (tm)". Neil Armstrong's name will be officially changed to "Commander KFC".

Further announcements will be made concerning the new official nomenclature for all of the other Pepsico/Apollo missions, as well as the plans for a new theme park in Cape Mountain Dew.

This is a great idea (2)

HEbGb (6544) | about 13 years ago | (#2400895)

They must be running out of money again. Last time they just shot John Glenn into orbit as a PR stunt, now they realize they need something else..

And imagine this: Learning and adopting capitalist methods from Russia?! Amazing!!! And I thought the US was capitalist...

Perhaps, if it's done well enough, it could be an enterprise similar to other semi-public industries, such as transportation (Amtrak, etc.), where governmental 'aid' is subsidized by paying customers.

There's plenty of value to be had:

- Performing research missions sponsored by industry, or by entertainment outlets (such as the Discovery channel). They already do this with satellite launches.

- Bringing back souvenirs (how much would you have to sell moon rock for to make it profitable?)

- Space tourism, of course.

However, NASA's culture is really not well suited for this - they're far too used to getting handouts from the government. It will, perhaps, have to fall on a private company to do properly. And I'm all for that.

Enough of wasting my tax money on NASA. Let 'em pay their own way like everyone else.

Re:This is a great idea (2)

Fatal0E (230910) | about 13 years ago | (#2400918)

I dont think it's in NASA's best interest as an institution or as a research facility to give up control of any aspect of the missions. Its still publicly funded research which should yield results to the gov't (and eventually to the people). If sponsorship turned into influence it might as well not even be NASA doing this research.

Russia was first (1)

hhe_hee (470065) | about 13 years ago | (#2400907)

Actually NASA have to do this but my guess is that they dont wanna do this. The only reason they do this commercial thing is because they don't want Russia to get all the money from this market. Like that rich (American) space tourist that Russia sent out, NASA didn't want to send him out to a space station. But they sure would like the 20 million dollars he payed...

How oddly appropriate... (4, Funny)

corky6921 (240602) | about 13 years ago | (#2400940)

...that I would happen to be surfing the humor sites today and find this [] picture of a space shuttle!

The NASA sponsor I'd like to see (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 13 years ago | (#2400944)

Trojan. Rockets are simply the best marketing vehicle for phallic shaped products. Now if you could just find a way to slide a 100ft rubber over the next cargo shipment to the ISS...
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