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US-China rivalry spurs investment in space tech

Written by on November 1, 2023

Nasa chief Bill Nelson reveals that the US is in a space race with China to return to the moon, a reference to the 1960s and 1970s when Nasa was in a space race with the Soviet Union. The US is now employing private companies to do more of the work, allowing for shared costs and drawing on the creativity of entrepreneurs in the private sector.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which was awarded a $3bn contract in 2021 to build a lunar lander, has also developed the most powerful rocket ever built. Other private firms, such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, are also benefiting from billions of dollars of government funding.

The rivalry is spurring huge investment by Nasa, with spending worth $71.2bn to the US economy in the year to the end of September 2021. This money can accelerate the growth of small firms, particularly start-ups, as the government often acts as a first customer to start-up firms.



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