This is exactly the kind of billionaire that is fucking the world over. He’s just put on a show such that the gullible believe otherwise.
Nope. Not even close. Look up the reasons the SLS exists at all. NASA doesn’t need this rocket, has no missions for it to fly, and it’s costing billions per year to develop, plus will be billions per launch for an totally expendable rocket.
The ONLY reason it exists is because the US Congress wants it to, due to specific congressmen and senators wanting money to be spent in their districts and states.
It’s literally pork barrelling instead of good science or technology.
Do you think NASA itself builds rockets without paying commercial aerospace companies? ALL NASA space launches are commercial launches. It’s already a built-in part of the military industrial complex.
SpaceX was paid billions by NASA to resupply the ISS because they could do it cheaply. The only other option was United Launch Alliance, which was the monopoly provider at the time. A COMMERCIAL monopoly provider.
SpaceX existing is saving NASA billions. Billions that would otherwise be going to shareholders of military contracting companies.
It’s the concentration of wealth funding SpaceX that bothers me. The organizations that research AI and medicine aren’t funded by eccentric multi billionaires.
Honestly the size of money spent of blockbusters does bother me. I don’t get why we spend 200 billion dollars on an Avengers movie. Musicians don’t spend a lot to make their art, so they should just be taxed higher on income…
I agree with all of your criticisms, but they are criticisms of congress, not NASA itself. Imagine if NASA had the discretion how to spend its money and also had enough to spend? You know, some scientists deciding what is most important.
Instead, we have this:
That’s not NASA’s fault. It’s the fault of rich assholes bribing and controlling congress. If Elon Musk really wanted to enrich mankind and not himself then:
At bare minimum SpaceX should be non-profit.
At less than bare minimum he could have given NASA money to fund those climate missions.
He could have legally bribed congress, just like the other rich assholes, and told the representatives he wanted NASA to be funded properly, and not in a way that benefits the military industrial complex.
Seems like only the Koch brothers know how to do this. Why aren’t so-called “good rich people” doing it? Because they are also evil! Fuck the Zuckerburg, the Gates, and the Bezos right along with the Musk.
Instead with those billions, Musk strokes his own ego, puts a fucking car in space, makes flamethrowers and other idiotic nonsense. You won’t catch me cheering for him until he’s got a grave to drag my ass on.
Even if I agree with your argument, which I don’t, you’re also completely overlooking the benefits that this technology has on the rest of our lives.
Tech benefits of NASA:
Who knows what technologies will get developed as a result of SpaceX.
More the latter. He doesn’t lead shit at SpaceX - He might be the CTO, but the guy who actually does all the normal CTO duties, plus leads teams, etc, that’s Tom Mueller, CTO of propulsion, and an actual rocket scientist. Elon’s position as CTO is largely just a PR bullshit. He doesn’t lead teams at Tesla, nor did he really have much of a hand in the original design, or the actually innovative parts of those cars. He doesn’t lead teams at SolarCity, nor at Neuralink.
His real primary roles, and arguably his most important ones, are to sign cheques, and be wheeled out on stage for press conferences, because his cult of personality is amazing - and very cheap - marketing. Though, I suppose he’s rapidly gaining a third role, selling gimmicky tat. Hats and cheap roofing torches stuffed into airsoft guns, anyone?
Fun random fact - Tom Mueller also designed the TR-106 and TR-107 rocket engines, built and used by NASA’s Space Launch Initiative, which is basically their branch dedicated to doing what SpaceX is doing now. The project has rather stalled out, since one of their best propulsion designers was hired away and went into the corporate world instead.
You mean, we shouldn’t talk about the union-busting, narcissistic weirdo who believes public transport is full of serial killers, and weaves elaborate conspiracies about his failures? The one whose response to allegations of a culture of racism at his company, responded with what amounted to "Be thick-skinned and accept apology’? The one who, when his assistant asked to be paid commensurate with the duties he expected her to take on, got rid of her by putting her on leave for two weeks, assigning her duties to a team of other people, and then fired her because that team of people managed to do her job?
Musk is barely, barely out to fuck the world less than those other billionares, and in most cases, is no better.
I know what NASA’s done and the reason we benefited from them exploring space was that they are a public organization. The technologies developed as a result of SpaceX will be exploited for corporate gain in ways that were never the case for NASA’s research.
Right. Exactly. But for all the bad decisions congress is making about NASA, I find it very hard to blame Elon Musk personally.
Again, I’m not a fan of him personally, but I can’t help but get excited about new rocket technology. And there just isn’t anything else even close to as exciting as todays Falcon Heavy launch.
I get your “kill all billionaires” sentiment, really. But I can’t believe you don’t understand why people are excited about simultaneous booster landings.
Oh please, give me a break!
The technologies developed as a result of NASA are exploited just as much for corporate gain as anything we’ll get from SpaceX. Are artificial limbs free? Can I get solar panels installed on my roof for no cost?
Everything on that list is “exploited” for monetary gain, either by having to actually pay for it or through taxes. There’s no difference.
I’m not going to respond because you clearly care about this considerably more than I do.
Imagine if Superman were standing on the street. Now imagine someone jumps out of a building. Superman watches that person fall to their death. Do you blame Superman for this?
He didn’t push the person. Yet, he had the power to relatively easily save them, and chose not to do so. He may not be guilty of murder, but he’s still a fucking, evil, heartless, sociopathic asshole.
Every significantly wealthy person has the power to actually solve many of society’s problems. If they choose not to do so, they are no different than that Superman. Can you imagine what would be accomplished if an actual good person had that money? Even if an idiot like me had that money, I could at least do better than these jerks.
I’m not blaming Musk any more than any of the others. He just happens to be the current target because people are clapping for him today. What the fuck! Wake the hell up. What next, are we going to clap when Bill Gates buys a new Porsche 911 for his collection?
Yeah, your entire post is why I’m not a fan of him personally. When I say “leading teams” I didn’t mean literally being in charge. He’s the public face of what happens at these companies, much like Richard Branson is with all the various Virgin companies. It’s a job, and he’s good at it, and from what I can tell is no more or less of a heartless cunt than other tech billionaires.
Yeah, that was pretty cool. And as much as it was an ego-stroke, so was the video from the Cargo bay, opening the doors and exposing the roadster to space.
The only problem with your analogy is that with Tesla and Solar City, Elon Musk really is doing his part in helping solve some of society’s problems. Becoming a billionaire might be his primary motive, or maybe a byproduct of really wanting the world to reduce its carbon output. But he IS doing something.
For me, it basically comes down to this:
Would I prefer that NASA be the ones doing this? Of course! But NASA’s budget is pathetic. In 2014, NASA’s entire budget accounted for half a penny out of every tax dollar. The fact that we having people like Neil deGrasse Tyson basically begging for that to be doubled, for just ONE penny out of our tax dollars to go to NASA is pathetic and depressing.
But if the US government isn’t going to fund NASA, I’d rather have someone continue research into space, even if it’s a private company like SpaceX. Better somebody is doing this than nobody.
Elon Musk he a lot of pennies. Why doesn’t he fund NASA instead of SpaceX?
I’m sure that’s against NASA’s charter.
Clearly, you have no idea how government appropriations and funding works.
As a generic rule, any miscellaneous money collected by an officer or employee of the United States for any reason has to go into the general treasury; this is according to 31 USC 3302, which was enacted to keep some sort of centralized control over government money. Congress can make exceptions; they have done so in several cases. For instance, the Department of State can accept donations for its use, which are automatically appropriated to the Department. The Defense Department can accept donations as well; those are held in trust, but cannot be used without being appropriated. However, most other agencies can’t accept such donations, and no agency can use donated money to fund its mission without Congressional approval.
(The one bit of an exception is employee morale/welfare/recreation funds, particularly military ones; these have a long history, and are somewhat a governmental function, and are recognized in law, but weren’t created by statute. However, the thing with them is that they’re funded directly by the people they benefit [employees], and it’s not really what you’re asking about).
Why can’t they use gifts without approval?
The basic rationale is that Congress’s control over the budget is meant to be a tool to give Congress general control over what the government can do. For instance, suppose Congress wants the government to generally back off from extremely strict environmental regulation. They can do so by cutting EPA funding, forcing the EPA to restrict its activities to the most important environmental issues, without having to say what those are (which is the EPA’s area of expertise). If the EPA could take money from environmentalist groups, that would severely reduce Congress’s control over how intensive US environmental regulation is. A common claim about the ATF from gun control advocates is that it’s underfunded in order to handicap federal gun control measures; whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in your opinion, the relative importance of gun control is the sort of policy decision that’s supposed to be made by Congress, not by the Brady Campaign.
To that end, the rule of thumb is that an agency can’t augment its appropriations with income from any other source. Standing appropriations like State has are fine, but without them, it means that Congress gets to set a cap on funding (even with them, what Congress giveth Congress can taketh away). There’s no single law saying that; the main things cited in favor are 31 USC 3302 (the Miscellaneous Receipts law we saw earlier), 31 USC 1301 (which says an appropriation can only be used for the thing it was appropriated for, so no using one department’s budget for another department), and Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the US Constitution (which says that no money can be spent from the Treasury without an appropriation).
There’s also the Antideficiency Act, which says that an agency can’t obligate itself to spend more than the sum of any funds it has and what it’s been appropriated, which has the same goal: no spending more money than Congress wants you to be able to spend (before it was enacted you’d see things like the military “accidentally” running out of money a couple months into the year, so sorry, our mistake, of course we can’t defend the country now; oh, “have some more money”? gee, what a surprise, thanks!). That law is a) what actually causes shutdowns in the first place (employees can’t work for IOUs because there’s no appropriation; they can’t volunteer their labor, because the act also generally bans that), and b) means that a donation which isn’t automatically appropriated can’t be used for anything until it’s appropriated (an agency can’t say “well, we’ll get the money as soon as it’s approved”; they have to wait for appropriation). The money can’t be used for anything else, as far as I can tell (conditional gifts must be used according to the conditions); it seems to just sit around until Congress approves its appropriation.