Congressmen Make Transparent Attempt to Bog Down SpaceX With Transparency Request
"You can't take the sky from me!" -Elon Musk, probably.
We’ve been pretty excited about SpaceX lately with their Falcon 9 rocket launches and landings, the Dragon V2 crew module, and their new spaceport in Texas, but some members of congress don’t share our enthusiasm. Three members of congress in particular are trying to put unnecessary road blocks in front of SpaceX for their own interests. Maybe no one told them that where SpaceX is going, they don’t need roads?
Metaphorical roadblocks could still cause the company problems, though, as House of Representatives members Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) have sent a memo to NASA asking that they investigate an “epidemic of anomalies” in SpaceX missions and make a full report to congress. They say they’re concerned about SpaceX wasting taxpayer money on developing technology that keeps having problems.
However, as Phil Plait and SpaceNews have pointed out, Elon Musk has already said that SpaceX didn’t use any of its NASA funding dollars for the Falcon 9. Any funding they did receive on other projects was only supplemental and came through the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, which was created to coordinate private companies making deliveries of cargo and crew to the ISS, as a result of the Space Act.
SpaceX has successfully delivered cargo to the ISS several times now, their Falcon 9 rockets don’t have any more technical problems than any comparably sophisticated technology, and their Dragon V2 crew module looks nothing short of amazing, so what gives? Unfortunately, it seems that the House members are trying to cause trouble with SpaceX to defend the interests of competitor United Launch Alliance, which has its HQ in the home state of Gardner and Coffman—right in Coffman’s own district.
Add to that ULA and Space Launch System partner Boeing’s plant in Alabama, and it starts to look a lot like this call for transparency is more likely a defense of the interests of individual politicians. There’s nothing inherently wrong with transparency, but in this case, I won’t be a bit surprised when these same representatives want to pick over every little detail to bog down SpaceX and make them look bad as they have with calling minor, expected kinks in the grand scheme of the company’s success an “epidemic of anomalies.”
At least they’re honest about their love of transparency—it’s pretty easy to see right through them.
(via Slate, image via SpaceX)
- The Falcon 9 recently made a successful test landing from orbit
- Yes, SpaceX is getting its very own spaceport
- And the Dragon V2 looks amazing