The American space program today has three primary components:
- National security/intelligence operations
- NASA and scientific operations
- Commercial launch and satellite operations
Like trains on separate tracks, these three “legs” of the American space program do not easily or effectively switch tracks. Essentially, each of these has a well-defined paradigm guiding successful operations within their respective areas of responsibility. As author Joel Barker notes, as long as the government operators and contractors or commercial enterprises stay within the paradigm, the rules and tools for being successful are well defined. Play by the rules and use the approved tools and you can succeed.
For America to become a true commercial human spacefaring nation, a new paradigm is needed. Metaphorically, we need to add another leg to the American space program creating the new set of commercial spacefaring rules and tools that will enable this new enterprise to be successful. If the existing three paradigms could accommodate this, then America becoming a true commercial human spacefaring nation would have already occurred. Since it has not, obviously, a new strategy for success is needed.