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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Space travel is moving toward private funding

•, Jack Kennedy
The 1958 Russian Sputnik satellite changed America in the Cold War. The termination of the multibillion-dollar American Apollo moon program, as well as the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, changed the role of America’s government astronauts forever.
The American government is paying the Russians more than $70 million to ferry each NASA astronaut to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz capsule. As the commercial space launch sector develops human-rated spacecraft to carry Americans to orbit, the picture of the new private-astronaut persona will emerge.
The next dramatic moments in human spaceflight might not be from a square-jawed, buzz-cut, hotshot male aviator superhero piloting a spacecraft to the surface of the moon. Instead, it may be the corporate researcher mom holding a doctoral degree in lunar geology and mining engineering.

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