Honors Theses

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Public Policy Leadership

First Advisor

Jody Holland

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

From the Wright Brothers to SpaceX launching the Falcon Heavy, space systems, and the policies that govern these systems, continue to evolve at a rapid rate. However, as space travel becomes commercialized, the federal government is beginning to realize that it would be cost-ineffective to continue to manufacture, maintain, and operate space systems completely through their own agencies. In result of this, it would be proactive for policymakers to decide what policy tools would be most effective in regulating space systems and the space ports in which they travel. The purpose of this study is to present research on the background of space systems and examine privatization as a governmental policy tool within the context of these systems. This thesis concludes that it would be advantageous for policymakers to advocate for a policy agenda that would promote the complete public ownership of space ports while allowing space systems to be manufactured, maintained, and operated in a public-private partnership between private companies, such as SpaceX, and government agencies, like NASA. To draw this conclusion, this thesis presents many formats, approaches, and philosophical attributes of privatization, and analyzes the merits and failures of these different characteristics. Furthermore, this thesis critiques the presentation and analysis of privatization within the context of space systems and space ports.

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