Second View

Why We Don't Spend Money in Space

Written by: developer

By Kevin Cook, Space Foundation Vice President – Marketing & Communications

We don’t spend money in space. We never have. It’s all spent — or rather invested — right here on Earth. It’s people and jobs, and the people that have these jobs create technologies and businesses big and small. These are the technologies and businesses that drive economies.

Whether you call it the “space race” or the race for knowledge, when we finally decided to put people and machines in space we didn’t know how. We didn’t know we couldn’t. But we had the will and determination to move forward, to innovate.

New challenges demanded new materials, skills and a reexamination of old ideas.

What we have done all along the way has changed the way we live here on Earth today. A lot of the advancements we have here on Earth are the result of someone doing something in the space program. It was and is our mission to explore, and thousands of engineers, mathematicians and scientists create the technologies to do it smarter and better every day.

No matter what walk of life, people are touched by space technology. In fact, it is entirely possible that someone you love is alive today thanks to technologies that come from space exploration. Think of medical devices, implants and procedures, navigation and rescue services, fire detection and suppression, communications including your “smart phone,” even the safety grooving we drive over on our roadways.

The Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame and Space Certification program both serve to honor space technologies, and they go a long way toward highlighting what a lot of people take for granted. Learn more about space awareness at and

We must maintain an innovation culture. When we have sophisticated problems being solved by highly trained experts, our whole society is lifted, enriched and inspired. Space is an enabler, helping to bridge the gab between developed and developing countries. Space exploration brings out the best in us.

There are lots of reasons to go into space. Some say it’s in our DNA. After all we’re explorers. It’s part of our destiny, it’s for knowledge and all great nations do it. But none of that matters much to those writing the checks. Space exploration must be seen as the economic driver it truly is, and budgets must be seen as investments instead of handouts.

We have a shared mission to spread the word about how space benefits us all, to motivate and encourage students at all levels to make the education choices that will keep us moving forward. We have to keep the spark alive, to try to find the things that capture the imagination of each new generation.

Not everyone who gets hooked on space will go into space, but they will become the mathematicians, scientists, doctors and architects who will do great things for our nation and the world. We hold the future in our hands, how we shape it is up to us.

Pictured: The 2015 Private Induction Ceremony for the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame

This article is part of Space Watch: June 2015 (Volume: 14, Issue: 6).