In the first part of this series, we discussed how NASA lacks an equatorial launch site and how such an asset could be really important to reducing launch costs for national space agencies and private sector launch providers.
NASA is by far the most well-funded, well-developed space agency on the planet. Even as its budget -- relative to total U.S. tax income -- has continually been reduced over the decades since the Apollo era, NASA still receives several times the funding of its largest international competitors.
There are hundreds of satellites, 8,000 tons of junk and more than 500,000 pieces of debris that are tracked as they circle the planet. This orbital debris and the speeds at which it travels increases the potential danger to both manned and unmanned space vehicles due to the increased potential for collision-related damage.
The peerless Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí once proclaimed there are no straight lines in nature. Born in the 1850s, he clearly lived in a time when Saturn’s mysteries were still somewhat enigmatic. Gaudí is proof that intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong.