The victorious Apollo 11 mission demonstrated to the world that the USA was the supreme power in space. At the moment, an important part of Cold War strategy was landing an American on the moon and returning him home safely: a feat that will grow to be one of many boldest technological endeavors in human historical past. It set the bedrock for the technology of economic progress, provided American statecraft, and ensured global power. From Apollo onward, America’s space capability has lasted as a logo of hope to millions all over the world and a reminder of the promise of science to advance the human race.
However, the thrill of watching SpaceX’s spectacular, and now routine, Falcon rocket launches largely obscures a lot of America’s old space industry. Without the energy, leadership, and risk-taking of personal citizens like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the lots of entrepreneurs and traders impressed by them, our space landscape can be almost entirely unchanged and uncompetitive globally.
Immediately, the space industry is basically an extension of the government itself and massively inefficient in how it allocates capital to advertise commercial progress. Rather than encouraging free-market innovation and private investment, present government policy scares commercial-type competition, reinforces incumbency and opposes reforms to improve. While the device in the near term to win the technology race of the Cold War, this narrowminded approach has finally inhibited innovation, and we are actually falling behind.