Nasa may sell naming rights for spaceships, says commercialisation will boost efficiency

Christopher Davidson
September 14, 2018

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly told the Post that the move would represent a "dramatic shift from the rules prohibiting government officials from using their public office for private gain", but added: "I guess this is the world we live in now".

Because NASA does not operate the rockets going to the space station, the agency might not get a cut of the branding revenue, but the rocket company could then make a lower bid on what it charged NASA, Mr. Bridenstine said.

Don't expect to see astronauts in Coca-Cola commercials any time soon, or NASA's Mars rover rebranded as Curiosity, brought to you by USA insurer AFLAC. Officials emphasize that nothing has been decided yet, but the idea could mark a cultural leap for the taxpayer-funded government agency.

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent almost a year in the International Space Station, said that this would be a dramatic shift from the rules that prohibit government officials from using their public office for personal gain.

During the second public meeting of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC), NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine presented the topic of rocket naming rights and similar options for corporations.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during an interview in his office. Washington Post
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during an interview in his office. Washington Post

"Is it potential for NASA to offset about a of its costs by promoting the naming rights to its spacecraft, or the naming rights to its rockets?"

In addition to embedding NASA into consumer marketing campaigns, there's an obvious financial interest behind the concept: money made from selling the rights could potentially help fund the space agency's projects and help it achieve large goals, at least from a financial standpoint. The question is: Is it possible? "'And the answer is, I don't know, '" reports Kenneth Chang for the New York Times. They should also able to participate in marketing opportunities to boost NASA's brand. Organizations and companies pay millions of dollars per year to have their logos on race cars.

Other countries have been more willing to cash in. But the plan was met with disapproval from some Congress, who derided the idea, saying space was a commons that should stay free of advertising.

Presently, NASA is following a procedure about how to identify, US Food and Drug Administration approved osteoporosis treatments could be used to mitigate the risk for astronauts developing the premature bone loss condition.

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