SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk, who prides himself on his entrepreneurial cunning, sent out what can only be called a “beg-e-mail” asking that company supporters call their Congressional Representatives to express opposition to H.R. 5781.
What’s so bad about H.R. 5781? Well, for one, it would provide a small bit of cash to be awarded to those wishing to become commercial crew launchers. Most funding for such launchers would instead be through loan guarantees.
What’s wrong with loan guarantees? While a loan guarantee is “guaranteed” repayment by the government, in the case of H.R. 5781 NASA , should the company taking the loan falter. But unlike a cash hand-out, with a loan guarantee, the company taking the loan must service it–in other words, the company has to make monthly payments on the loan. And why would a commercial space company want to do that? Really!
In short, SpaceX is upset that it will be forced to use loan guarantees to fund its further development of the Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launcher rather than continue to get essentially free money from NASA that has funded such development to the present.
Below is the email that went out.
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 09:50:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Your Help Urgently Needed to Save the Future of Human Spaceflight
Your Help Urgently Needed to Save the Future of Human Spaceflight
If you care about the future of American space exploration, your urgent help is necessary. The only hope for the average citizen to one day travel to space is in danger due to the actions of certain members of Congress. SpaceX does not have the enormous lobbying power of the big government contractors to stop them, however with your help the day can still be saved.
NASA’s Authorization bill (H.R. 5781) will be debated on the floor of the US House of Representatives tomorrow. Despite the imminent retirement of the Space Shuttle, H.R. 5781 authorizes over five times as many taxpayer dollars to fly NASA astronauts on the Russian Soyuz than it invests in developing an American commercial alternative, moreover at a time when jobs are sorely needed in the United States.
Quite simply, this bill represents the sort of senseless pork politics that has driven our national debt to the point where our economy can barely service it.
The bill is expected to be brought to the House floor this Friday under a special “suspension of the rules,” which is a procedure that limits debate and amendments.
Telephone your Congressional representative right away via the House Switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask them to vote NO on H.R. 5871, and instead support the bill unanimously agreed to in the Senate last week.
Your five minutes will make a critical difference, ensuring an exciting and inspiring future in space travel! SpaceX rarely asks you to take action, so you know it really matters when we do.
Look up your representative here: