The Future of Space Exploration: What’s Next for NASA and Private Companies?

Space exploration has been a huge part of the last century and is only getting bigger. The recent successes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin have made the idea of space travel accessible in ways previously thought inconceivable.

However, there is still much to be done as both public and private entities look to the future and what lies ahead for space exploration. This article looks at the recent accomplishments of both NASA and some private companies and highlights some of the next steps for them both.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

NASA has had a long history of successes in exploring space, from the Apollo missions to the Mercury, Gemini, and International Space Station (ISS) programs. Today, they continue to pioneer new terrain through their astronaut program and Launch Services Program.

NASA is now getting ready to send a rover to Mars, called the Mars 2020 rover, that has the potential to bring back soil and rock samples that can give insight into the history of human beings. Similarly, an Asteroid Redirect Mission is in the works that will bring back samples from a captured asteroid, aiming to not only give us a better understanding of asteroids but also providing a practice ground for future deep-space missions.

NASA is also looking to the future and has been planning manned missions to the Moon since 2004, as part of the Artemis program. In preparation for longer-term space exploration, NASA has built the Space Launch System (SLS) that has the potential to transport astronauts out of low-Earth orbit, to the Moon, to Mars, and elsewhere.

Private Companies

Private companies have been making headlines in recent years for their ambitious plans for space exploration. SpaceX has been launching and landing the same Falcon 9 rocket with its own crew and cargo, showing that reusing rockets is not out of the realm of possibility. They have also been attempting to reuse their Falcon Heavy rocket.

In addition, Blue Origin has been making strides with their planned orbital launch system, New Armstrong, that is set to be the first fully reusable heavy launch system ever created. They are also working on constructing the first lunar lander and have ambitious goals to “help return humans to the Moon.”

Other private companies, such as Virgin Galactic, are also looking to make space exploration more accessible and affordable. Their SpaceShipTwo is one of the first reusable launch systems developed, and they look to provide suborbital flights to the public.

Looking Ahead

In both the public and private sector, there is much to look forward to in terms of space exploration. The recent advancements have been groundbreaking and have opened up new possibilities for what we can achieve. But there is still much to be done as both NASA and private companies look to the future of space exploration.

NASA will be looking to use their plans for Earth’s Moon, Mars, and beyond to make advancements in space exploration. There are plans to send more crews to the ISS, launch probes to Jupiter and other planets, and continue to explore the Solar System and beyond.

On the private side, SpaceX and Blue Origin are looking to make history with their reusable rockets, which have the potential to greatly reduce the cost of space exploration. They are both looking to colonize the Moon and Mars with plans for the not-so-distant future.

In addition, there are some ambitious plans from other private companies, such as Virgin Galactic and their plans for their space plane. Altogether, these plans from both public and private entities will be used in tandem to bring humankind into a new age of space exploration with exciting possibilities.

Space exploration has come a long way in the last century and is only getting bigger. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and many private companies have ambitious plans for the future of space exploration and have made huge progress toward their goals.

NASA is now getting ready to launch a rover to Mars, while also developing the tools necessary for lengthy space travel, such as the Space Launch System (SLS). Private companies, such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, are leading by example with their reusable rockets and creating the foundation for affordable space exploration.

While there are still many unknowns and much to be done as these entities look to the future, they are bound to make tremendous progress in space exploration in the coming years. The possibilities are endless as both NASA and private companies continue to break new ground in space exploration.