The new leader of NASA is very keen on privatizing spaceflight. One may like it or not, this could lead to some new approaches to branding. Administrator of NASA, Mr. Jim Bridenstine has unveiled am Advisory Council committee for NASA. This committee will explore the feasibility of commercializing NASA’s operations in low Earth orbit in an attempt to lower its costs while it eyes the Moon and Mars. These plans include product endorsements from astronauts and even selling the naming rights to other spacecrafts and rockets. Sounds interesting as you may see an astronaut on a box of Wheaties, or a Red Bull mission to the Red Planet.
The head of the committee, Mr. Mike Gold suggested that the committee is also thinking about scrapping “obsolete” regulations to allow American astronauts support private activities aboard the International Space Station. He added that companies shouldn’t have to “turn to Russian cosmonauts” for private operations and that astronauts could even be involved in filming ads.
Bridenstine expressed that earlier he was not sure if this kind of commercialization was even possible. But now he thinks this can be done and it might help NASA compete with private spaceflight companies. It should be noted that US has a shortage of military pilots. The primary reason for this is, they get more money with airlines. Bridenstine said that there could be a similar problem if they get tempted away by the likes of SpaceX. He also emphasized that this could spread NASA’s influence in pop culture.
There is a high possibility that there is significant resistance. For an example, even scientists are not always fond of commercializing their work. It is very well known that NASA has always been a ‘safe’ space for pure scientific pursuits. The committee also has to keep in mind that endorsements and naming rights might skew the missions themselves. Would the astronauts jockey for roles based on suitability, or on the chance for a great tempting sponsorship deal? Before opening the floodgates, there are more than a few ethical and practical concerns NASA would have to consider .
The committee would be hoping that everything goes well and soon their mission to start commercializing NASA’s space operation would be accomplished.