To reduce costs, Nasa boss Bridenstine can also imagine that his astronauts appear in the future TV commercials of cash-rich companies.
The marketing of rocket names and astronauts would be a radical break with all NASA traditions.
So far, the authority always strives for economic neutrality. This goes so far that about M & M's in official documents as "chocolate coated with candy" are called.
By Claus Hulverscheidt, New York
How about pizza hat mission? Apple Safari? Or Haribo rocket – after all, in the case of the cases, even German corporations would have the opportunity to take their fame in the far reaches of space.
The US space agency Nasa thinks about naming rockets and lunar vehicles after advertising companies – against decent payment, of course. The answer is: I do not know, "authorities chief Jim Bridenstine said recently at a meeting of the Nasa Advisory Council, which supports the management in their work. But it is about time that someone clarifies the question once. To reduce costs, Bridenstine can also imagine that his astronauts will appear in TV commercials of cash-rich companies or on cereal packs. "I'd like to see kids do not grow up thinking of becoming sports stars, but NASA astronauts or NASA scientists," the agency chief said.
President Trump has set ambitious goals for space travel
The marketing of rocket names and astronauts would be a radical break with all NASA traditions. So far, the authority always strives for economic neutrality. This goes so far that M & M's, for example, who apparently like to feed the flying personnel during their travels into space, are referred to in official documents and pronouncements as "candy coated chocolate". Also, astronauts who are public service employees are strictly forbidden to market their prominence or affiliation to an elite circle.
There is a reason why Bridenstine is now half-publicly pondering about a revolution: President Donald Trump has set ambitious goals for space travel, including a return of American astronauts to the moon. However, by 2023 there will be virtually no additional funds in the budget. Instead, Trump always flirts with the idea of ending the direct public financing of the International Space Station (ISS) and promoting the space plans of private providers by reducing many rules and regulations. "With a future in which there are also space stations of private companies, it is vital for Nasa to explore innovative business concepts," said Mike Gold, who heads the responsible working group on the Public Authority Advisory Council.
But not all experts share this attitude. "If companies can sponsor rockets and astronauts, the question is who is in charge," said the US non-governmental organization Project on Government Oversight (Pogo), which is dedicated to fighting corruption and abuse of power. Rather, it could give the impression that Nasa employees are no longer fully loyal to their public employer, according to a spokesman for the New York Times. Several ex-spacemen interviewed by the Washington Post also rejected the idea. Nasa, or any other authority, should not put themselves in a position "in which they must act as supporters of this or that product," said former astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria. "To me it sounds like someone is scratching a blackboard with their fingernails – just not right."
Whether Lopez-Alegria will be heard, however, is questionable – especially since the companies would queuing up at an opening of Nasa for private sponsorship. One of the first contenders could actually be the restaurant chain Pizza Hut, one of the few corporations that had actually managed to shoot its logo into space in 2000. The rocket on which the logo was emblazoned, however, did not come from Nasa at that time. It belonged to the less prudish Russians.
Zoff in space by two millimeters
After years of great space harmony, Americans and Russians are now arguing about a hole in a Soyuz capsule at the ISS research station. Is sabotage behind it?
By Julian Hans, Moscow