This is the closest the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) can get to its glory days decades ago. With its team up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, its launch last May stirred a lot of nostalgic feelings and a reignited public interest on the agency. This is quite evident for over 150,000 specters and viewers gathered near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch. Though delayed due to the weather, the subsequent launch was watched by over 10 million viewers – a concrete testament of the crowd’s rejuvenated interest.
Like a phoenix who has risen from the ashes, NASA seemingly resurrected itself from its decline. It can be remembered that in 2011, the agency shut down its historic space shuttle program citing costs. The said program was responsible for launching the Hubble Space Telescope to space among others.
In a report on CNBC, it is no doubt that recognition of NASA, its feats, and its personnel is still strong to the public’s perception but it had waned over the years due to the public’s hunger for something ‘new’, with its launches in the early 2000s was seen as ‘routine’ by the public.
However, the rise of private firms that are aimed at dipping their toes in space exploration helped in sparking the masses’ interest in space exploration. CEOs with deep pockets such as Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk of SpaceX led the way for innovation due in part to the amounts of money being allotted to research as well as being able to market themselves and their companies.
NASA has partnered with these companies. In a smart move, instead of the government spending money to build their own equipment and develop new technologies, they decided to grant private institutions financial aid instead. Each partnership deal will lead to NASA just buying seats for its astronauts in every launch set.
This led to the government saving a ton of money with big companies bagging contracts from the government.
NASA also has affirmed its commitment to employing diversity in its workforce, employing and even sending astronauts of color in space.
How will our newest @NASAMars rover prepare the way for human exploration? What's the biggest challenge? Will it be friends with @MarsCuriosity?— NASA (@NASA) July 27, 2020
In the latest #AskNASA, engineer Michelle Colizzi answers your ?'s on @NASAPersevere. Watch: https://t.co/7XW22LueXs#CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/FMSzkMM1Nu
Not only that, but the space agency has also taken steps in updating its branding to catch-up with the times. The agency has a large solar media following and has been viral countless times. According to them, NASA’s goal is to flood social media with photos and other media of the agency’s scientific findings and innovation.