With any luck, by the time NASA's space probe hits Pluto, you'll be booking a spaceflight with a privately run suborbital airline.
NASA works for the White House. There are many at NASA that wish they were building a modern replacement for the Shuttle. However, they had marching orders to instead work on other things, some of which should have no place in a research organization.
NASA's myriad failures are in many ways the natural consequence of a catastrophic combination of bureaucracy, monopoly, and a calcifying aversion to the kind of risk necessary for innovation.
A NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut can't be creative. He has to follow a predetermined detailed checklist written by an engineer and if he gets a little creative he'll never fly again.
NASA is doing nothing but development. They're not doing research in manned spaceflight at all and I see no reason for them to do that because we already know that it will work and we already know exactly how it will work.
A NASA-funded study estimates that if the price of a ticket to space approached $100,000, close to a million people would buy one. That's a $100 billion industry. Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen gave me $20 million in startup funding to go after that market.
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