Here’s a good article by Nader Elhefnawy at The Space Review about the difficulties with getting a commercial space program up and running. He questions why no country has made a commercial venture outside satellites, and comes up with some pretty good reasons.
The positive forces the author notes are mercantilism and national pride, whereas the negatives are long and hard to argue against.
While there may be good reasons, as of now they aren’t economical ones, and money is what makes the world go ’round. Elhefnawy points out that businesses aren’t typically the adventurers they’re portrayed as (risk is not a good thing if you want to make money), and there’s also that pesky matter of space being REALLY big and hard to get to.
In sum, I’d like to be optimistic, but without a drastic change in the way the world works, I’m not getting off this rock. Hopefully my children will.
(image courtesy of galaxygrrl)