With SpaceX, do we still need NASA

In the past, launching satellites or other spacecraft into space was a collaboration between government agencies and large Aerospace contractors. But that's history, and over the past 20 years, private space startups have proved that they can compete with larger peers and, in some cases, even take the lead.
The best proof is space X, Elon Musk's space exploration technology company. Now, space X has the ability to recycle the first stage rocket and reuse it for many times, which is the scene of science fiction. In 2020, space X will also become the first private company to send astronauts into space. Currently, space X is building a huge new rocket system, which is expected to send humans to Mars one day.
Looking at these incredible feats, you may wonder whether we still need NASA, or whether NASA and space X are competing with each other. But in reality, the two organizations do very different things and depend on each other to succeed.
What does space X do?
Space X, a private company led by Tesla CEO musk, currently manufactures and launches two types of Rockets: Falcon 9 and Falcon heavy. The boosters of these rockets can usually be recycled, renovated and reused. This not only saves money, but also reduces the service price of space X, so as to win the competitive advantage.
Space X has also built and launched the Dragon spacecraft, a capsule that can transport crew and cargo to the international space station (ISS). Finally, space X also plans to use the Dragon spacecraft to transport "private astronauts" (non NASA astronauts).
In addition, space X is working on a large rocket and spacecraft system called starship, which can carry huge payloads into space. "Starship" may eventually send people to live permanently on Mars.
In addition, space X has deployed a famous large satellite network called Starlink, which aims to provide high-speed Internet access services to the world. At present, the number of these satellites is about 1000, and the project has also caused some controversy due to concerns that they may cause "light pollution" and interfere with astronomical research.
How is the space X project progressing?
The predecessor of "starship" is "large Falcon rocket" (BFR). According to the plan of space X, "starship" will eventually replace its main rocket "Falcon 9" to carry out cargo missions and eventually carry astronauts to the moon and Mars.
On January 6, 2019, Elon Musk, CEO of space X, exposed the simulation of "starship" on social media. In February 2020, the prototype "starship" SN1 exploded during a liquid nitrogen pressure test. Since then, space X has been testing the "starship" prototype, and has now tested "sn9". This week, space X also launched the Sn10 test.
Although the starship is still being tested, musk has made a grand plan. In January 2020, musk put forward the goal of building 100 "interstellar spacecraft" every year. Whenever the earth and Mars orbit synchronize, it will send about 100000 people from the earth to Mars.
Musk said on twitter at that time: "we will build 100 'starships' every year, and the number will reach 1000 in 10 years, which means that the annual transport capacity can reach 100 million tons. Every time the earth and Mars orbit are synchronized, about 100000 people can be sent to Mars at the same time. " That means a million people could be on Mars by 2050.
As for the "star chain" project, at the end of October last year, space X took the lead in launching the "star chain" test service in parts of the United States and Canada. According to the feedback of test users, "star link" trial speed has exceeded 160 Mbps, more than 95% of the broadband connections in the United States. The network speed of most test users is within the range given by space X, that is, between 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps.
In January this year, space X launched the "star chain" service in the UK. From 2019 to 2024, space X plans to use five years to send thousands of satellites needed for networking into low earth orbit to form a "star chain" network to provide Internet services. As of the end of January this year, the number of space X satellites in orbit is about 955.
What does NASA do?
NASA is a taxpayer funded U.S. government agency with more than a dozen offices across the country. NASA reports to the executive branch of the government that the director of NASA is appointed by the president. Congress legislates to authorize NASA's activities and provide its annual budget.
NASA's budget is set through a political process, not evenly distributed. Nearly half of NASA's budget goes to manned space programs. To the public, the most prominent of these projects is the international space station (ISS), a permanent manned multinational space laboratory in low earth orbit. NASA is also trying to send astronauts to the moon and Mars through its Artemis program.
About a third of NASA's budget goes to its science department, which includes planetary science, earth science, astrophysics and solar physics. NASA launches space missions to study and explore planets and other worlds, to study the earth's climate, to answer basic questions about the nature of the universe, and to study the sun.
NASA also conducts aerospace research and funds various space technology development efforts. Research shows that NASA provides a wide range of social and economic benefits to the United States.