Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > In-Class Activity 2- Space flight going private

Space Flight going Private

In-Class Activity 2_Space Issues

Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD and Marjorie Chan PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics


Become aware of private companies pursuing space flight and their role with our outside of NASA's Mission directorate.


Be ready to facilitate a discussion and have talking points outlined. Suggested questions are below.


Dragon docking with the ISS

Present students the following video of Space X's Dragon spacecraft docking with the ISS:

  • This is the first privatized space-flight in history
  • Ask students what they think of this venture


Lead a discussion of Privatization vs. Government-funded research in Space

  1. What is the history of privatization?
  2. What are the pros and cons of private companies taking over the space program?
  3. Share the Space X video and announcement of their award to continue on manned-space flight
  4. The Space X reusable Space Craft:


To compare NASA's budget with other federal government agencies and/or privately funded corporations see the following website:


Space X's Mars Business Model

  1. How realistic do students think this business model is?
  2. Do student agree with the business model?


In a Group setting:

  1. Decide as a group if privatization is a good route to pursue for space research and flight.
  2. Groups should be ready to defend their position.