Originally Posted by Knicks_Fan
This is what happens when you offshore most everything, less than spectacular results (see call centers, and IT projects as prime examples) to try and save money...
You're confusing the old days of NASA where spending billions a year to launch anything into space was the only way to do it. However, the future of space is in the private sector where competition and quanity of vehicle production will make the price more reasonable.
In addition, you seem to be forgetting that NASA has had more than their fair share of accidents over the decades. It's not easy to launch something into space. In an era where movies and TV shows project space travel as commonplace, we often forget how much can go wrong on a routine mission.
There's a reason they refer to "rocket science" as something involving smart people. It takes a lot of them to get it right - and sometimes even they don't succeed.
The fact is, space travel is now comparable to the drug industry. A company like Pfizer researches and makes a pill that costs them millions. A decade later, a generic company comes along and copies it for pennies and it works just as well. The same goes for NASA and those private companies. NASA has done all the research - the other guys can work from what they learned.
This isn't like call centers where skilled techs are replaced with people reading cards. Many of those working at these private companies came from government space programs around the world. The people that work with them studied for years to learn "rocket science". These people aren't just reading off cue cards and throwing metal into space.
I would submit that eventually private space programs will make them safer. Why? Because as soon as anyone wants to do anything that affects private citizens, the goverment will mandate a level of safety and require oversight. This doesn't happen with NASA who can just say it "was a failure of (insert complicated technical term) that could not have been foreseen". Someday, space travel will be as safe and common as airplane travel because private companies took it on.