Commercial Space: Are the Doubting Thomases Right?

Artist's conception of Obital Sciences Corporation's Taurus II rocket set for launch at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

This week in The Space Review….

Commercial space skepticism
Commercial space ventures appear to be moving forward on all fronts, with developments ranging from commercial crew funding to the testing of suborbital vehicles. However, Jeff Foust notes that some both in industry and Congress are skeptical of the long-term success of these efforts, in part because of past experience.

Public-private partnerships for space
What is the future for space exploration in an era of fiscal constraints and competing priorities? Lou Friedman argues that there is an increasing role for public-private partnerships to advance space exploration initiatives more cost effectively.

India and space security
In recent years India’s space program has evolved from one almost solely dedicated to serving national needs to one with a more nationalistic, even militarized bent. Victoria Samson summarizes the takeaways from a recent conference that examined India’s shifting attitudes towards space and their impact on space security.

Iraqi bird: Beyond Saddam’s space program
In addition to trying to develop a launch vehicle, Iraq also worked on an its own satellite during the regime of Saddam Hussein. Dwayne Day describes that satellite effort and the country’s future satellite plans.

Review: Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) suffered a recent funding setback, but work continues to try and find evidence of other civilizations in the universe. Jeff Foust reviews a book that looks at the current state of SETI and the potential to not just listen but also transmit.