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A Listing of negative attitudes against spending money on Space Initiatives and Launchers

Good to know the arguments of the nay-sayers, pessimists and critics

The Space Program or investing in private space initiatives, isn’t for everybody and that is something we just should accept and not worry about. Most governments or political bodies overreact when they hear negative comment. But, daring space endeavors do not fare well when they need to compete for political support measured against the lowest common denominator. The fact is they used to not have to.

In past decades the military advantages and necessities more than were enough rationale for its existence and this will not change in a more dynamic world. But in more recent decades the trend in seeing  academic and commercial interests (i.e. telecoms industry) becoming a very sizable market, and new players pursuing more philanthropic goals, i.e. enabling human exploration of deep space, gives many of us hope that access to space for civilians might be more than a pipe dream. Because the program no longer is purely military the question on the rationale for spending vast amounts of money on rockets and science did become relevant to the taxpayer. Why spend money on science in space when it could also be done from te ground, the perception goes.

Still it is good to know what a person who has no detailed knowledge of space, nor an interest in science or space exploration might think and say. It might be an investor you need to convince, so it is good to be prepared for the lack of enthusiasm, nay-saying and criticism or covert pessimism that might lie behind their lack of enthusiasm to invest in your space project:

Against Space Activities in general


  1. It is expensive;
  2. It is too expensive;
  3. It is very difficult;
  4. It is too difficult;
  5. We seem to have hit a technological limit and it will not get better;
  6. We can just buy the technology from other countries;
  7. Europe does not have the guts;
  8. Europe is too risk averse;
  9. Europe is not very ambitious. We can’t even launch a crew into space. We have to beg other countries. This is embarrassing;
  10. Europe should invest more in defense and space defense. This science and civilian nonsense is cute, but European safety is more important in a this dangerous world.We should militarize space for our own safety;
  11. Europe doesn’t have a space program, we just launch rockets and probes (people believing that a ‘real’ program involves sending people into space; I tend to agree);
  12. Europe has no safe launching pads on the continent or in the UK (wrong);
  13. Europe is riddled with busy air traffic, you can’t launch rockets here;
  14. Europe should focus on components and niche markets, not expensive launchers;
  15. Ariane 5 was a commercial success and now is failure, we cannot repeat this success;
  16. In Europe spending money on Space is too inefficient, requires too many international European partners, and large bureaucratic problems like this suck in more money while producing comparably less value than the USA can with their more open space Market;
  17. ESA is an intergovernmental body, they have no money, they have to beg for it every couple of years and don’t get money for projects the public would care about (e.g. access to space);
  18. The space program over-promises: We are promised moon bases, which are technologically possible, and only get a small orbital probe and every decade a crash of a small unimpressive rover. We are promised moon bases but we don’t test technology for it on the moon;
  19. We are sold on the idea that we will answer the big question on  whether there is life in the universe, yet, we do not put science instruments capable of detecting life on those probes. Last time we did it was with the Viking Landers on MARS. it showed some tentative signs of life, and instead of repeating the experiment, we never again sent a life detection instrument. This is unexplainable and unacceptable and does not show common sense. It is either a science program not getting its priorities right (which requires change) there something sinister at play (which requires an explanation);
  20. We should have been living on the moon by now, the fact we don’t, means we can’t;
  21. All space programs are mismanaged so we shouldn’t spend money on them;
  22. It is only for a select few: astronauts and overpaid space industry experts, not in my personal interest;
  23. Don’t you have anything more interesting to do?
  24. It is an expensive social welfare program to create jobs for nerds, not in my interest
  25. The spin offs from space are really goofy, how cares that Tefal cooking pots have been invented in the space program;
  26. The world cannot unite to build this capability;
  27. It is just another arms race or military program deviously covered up as a science project;
  28. We will pollute the universe like we did the world;
  29. Going to space means neglecting Earth;
  30. Colonizing Mars means we just go to other places after we have ruined this one; it is repulsive;
  31. We should wait with going into space until we have better technology;
  32. Man should not colonize Mars or use resources of Mars, because we might damage extant life or ruin its pristine nature;
  33. Terraforming other worlds is wrong;
  34. We shouldn’t go into space if we can’t solve our problems here;
  35. We should solve overpopulation on Earth;
  36. I just don’t trust high-tech;
  37. We should send robots only, they can do everything or will be able to do everything and are cheaper;
  38. The Universe should remain pristine, if we explore it we will taint it;
  39. Human nature will ruin the beauty and peacefulness of space, we shouldn’t go into space;
  40. We should spend more on social welfare instead (the numbers say the contrary);
  41. We should pay more attention on solving Earths’ problem first;
  42. We shouldn’t use Mars as a back up plan for Earth;
  43. Going to space will risk contaminating Earth, it is too dangerous;
  44. The Space Program isn’t real, it is a conspiracy. We cannot go into space;
  45. Man never walked on the Moon, Man never was in Space. The world is flat;
  46. The public space initiatives are just a cover up for black program military stuff;
  47. It is a market governed by a small monopoly, new entrants will get smashed;

Against Launcher Operations particularly

  1. The money is in the components, not the launchers (this is only true if the operator doesn’t have a vertically integrated business)
  2. The profit is only in the data, not the launchers (this is not true, there is a large profit in the launchers, and two you have to get into space in the first place, launcher companies usually have their own data driven services, so anyone banking of buying and selling data, might get squeezed out of the market)


Can we do anything against it and should we even do anything against it. Should we even care?

The advice is of course that you should not spend time convincing people who are not enthusiastic about space to become it. They usually are not into beautiful or less photogenic science and cannot be convinced with pointing to tangible results.  The time is better spent on keeping to look for your coalition of the willing. Still, even they might be very enthusiastic about space, but down-to-earth enough to realize that a commercial program needs to follow -within reason- the rules of a commercial business. It is true that collaborative projects or governmental products do not need to be profitable to succeed, but principles used by commercial organisations and competition do tend to offer more value to the customer at a lower cost. At the price of seeing some competitors fail, even the costs associated with their investment losses (which is only a temporary moss society can handle, because not every penny in a society ever goes to a space program), is still outweighed by the benefits of having access to a cheaper product (which usually are a perpetual benefit). offer  Product, market, healthy customer back log, service, profit. With profit and a line of customers being the most important ones. Yes, excellent service is a requirement, but it is much harder to define in general terms and in this business you need to listen very carefully to the specific needs and requirements of a specific customer. This means that not everything can be packaged in a standard form, although the Cube Sat market explosion shows that having a specific and accessible standard is a very good idea, helps remove entry costs and lets the market as a whole grow.

The main problem in the launcher industry is the bottleneck in the availability of flights (at a specific price point). Businesses still have to wait too long between booking a flight and the vehicle actually flying so their payload, once placed into orbit can start generating  money.

What other negative attitudes exist?

Please do inform us if we have forgotten to list a negative attitude against space projects. We strive to be complete.

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