Orion: Another Triumph of Red, White & Blue American Socialism

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Sorry, government-haters, but yesterday was a big day for NASA, the government’s space-exploration department, which successfully launched and recovered its new Orion spacecraft. According to NASA, the craft was sent into a brief orbit “atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket Dec. 5 at 7:05 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), is the first flight test for NASA’s new deep space capsule and is a critical step on NASA’s journey to Mars.”

It’s counter-intuitive to think of it this way, but NASA is, in fact, a crown jewel of American socialism — the taxpayer-funded economic system of the United States has traditionally used to fund its schools, infrastructure management, emergency services and other government programs, including the exploration of space.

The word “socialism” was pejoratively elided with communism and authoritarianism by U.S. government propagandists during the Cold War, which also happened to be when NASA was founded — by Republican Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, as it happens — but it simply refers to an economic setup in which government resources are used collectively for the benefit of the citizenry. Most of our competitor nations — Canada, Great Britain, Japan, etc. — view their own systems as some form of democratic socialism, which, as a technical matter, is what the American system is now and has been for a century and more.

It can be said then that it was socialism — good ol’ American, red-white-and-blue socialism — that took humans to the moon, and it will be American socialism that will transport humans to Mars later in this century.

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