Frequently Asked Questions
Got a question? We've got answers.
Most news stories about space are about big personalities like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, or about a new “space race” among powerful countries. This gives the wrong idea about what most of the space industry is about: YOU! People all around the world benefit from space every day, but that doesn’t get so much attention, because writing about personalities and drama gets more attention.
Space solves problems on Earth and makes new opportunities and enjoyment for people all around our planet. Browse our website of inventions and solutions for great examples. Total worldwide government spending on space activities is less than one-tenth of 1% of total government budgets. The space industry also makes safe jobs with good pay.
Rocket science had hardly moved for 50 years and the space shuttle had been retired. Then came the billionaires investing in space at their own risk. Elon Musk and others have invested almost $7 billion in SpaceX, and because of SpaceX, the price of sending one kilogram into orbit now costs one-tenth of what it did 20 years ago. That means that governments spend less to get astronauts to the International Space Station and that there are hundreds of science experiments happening that used to be too expensive. Similarly, Jeff Bezos has put over $2billion into Blue Origin and Richard Branson and others invested over $1 billion into Virgin Galactic. All these billionaires are making science and inventions happen that help us all. If one of them wants to take their own trip into space with their own money, then we hope they have a good time in exchange for all the benefits the rest of us get from rocket science finally improving again.
Do rockets make a lot of pollution? You know when you see all that huge cloud of smoke coming out of a rocket? Wow, it looks like some awful pollution! Most of that smoke is…. not smoke! It is actually steam! Yep, it’s lots of water being vaporized into steam. Past that, a detailed answer gets enormously complicated. (But if you want to really dive in, we suggest a good article over at Everyday Astronaut called "How much do rockets pollute?".) One observation is that rockets are less than 0.00001% of global C02 emissions; that is basically meaningless. And on the other hand, the Earth observation satellites sent up by rockets are the only good way to monitor and then control pollution on a global basis. And, some new rockets will not even emit carbon dioxide. The BE-3 engine developed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. It did not put out carbon dioxide when Bezos went to space. Unfortunately, there were plenty of angry (jealous?) posts about Bezos putting out “hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide into the air”, and too many people have a false impression about rocket pollution being a problem.
Definitely not! The space industry has jobs for everyone from the accountant to the janitor to the zoologist. If you know anything useful – or just know how to be a really good worked and have determination – you can find a job in the space industry or with a space agency.
Space is not just for the big countries anymore. For example, the International Space Station has hosted astronauts from many countries that are not very large, such as Bulgaria, Cuba, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland. Now, 80 countries have space agencies. Over 100 countries have satellites in space for weather observation, satellite TV, etc. And 41 countries have sent astronauts to space.
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