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What are the consequences of government monopoly on space exploration?
I would like to say that I do know and am aware of the fact that the government does not have a full monopoly on space exploration, but what I find interesting is that only lately I have seen private companies and entrepreneurs turning more and more towards space exploration. I came across this realization as I was reading Richard Branson's autobiography 'Losing my Virginity' where he talks about Virgin Galactic and provides some brief explanation to why the consequences of government monopoly were dangerous in the past and how we avoided these consequences. He says that without space exploration done over the course of some decades in the past we wouldn't have GPS today which is the most obvious benefit of space technology advancement. He also mentions the consequences regarding the agricultural success and links that to satellites and other technologies. He went on to say that Virgin Galactic developed a cheaper and environmentally friendlier spacecraft made completely out of plastic that could be sent into space 1000 times at the price of one NASA's rocket launch. I didn't really understand the major concepts he was talking about since they were quite brief spanning on maybe 2 pages if that much. I would like to know what the real consequences of this monopoly are, if there had been some already which we could have avoided and, also, I am interested in the benefits of space exploration. So what are the consequences of limiting this research and what are the benefits of "freeing" it? Thank You!