Does The U.S. Need The Private Space Station?
Two years ago, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger etched its searing images on minds of the U.S. public—and crippled the country’s space effort Experiments, satellites, and probes, already backlogged by delays in the shuttle program, were grounded. Many scientists and companies began to look for alternative launch systems and space platforms to carry their projects.
So too did the Reagan administration. Officials began to worry that U.S. industry, unable to perform experiments in the near-weightlessness of space, would fall behind foreign competitors in the race to develop new materials and materials-processing techniques. Even the return to...