The launch Tuesday of SpaceX's Falcon rocket signifies that America is ready to return to the forefront in space, Newt Gingrich said Friday.
"The successful launch of SpaceX's Falcon powerful new rocket Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center was a tremendous step toward reasserting American leadership in space," Gingrich wrote in a column for Fox News.
"This successful test flight should serve as a serious motivator for the National Space Council to jumpstart the nation's focus on manned space flight," Gingrich wrote.
The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful rocket that the U.S. has launched since the Apollo missions, and it can carry almost 64 metric tons, more than double the payload of the next biggest rocket, Gingrich noted.
Gingrich, a Fox News contributor and former House speaker, said that the private sector is proving conventional wisdom incorrect.
"The Space Council must see the new reality. It must recognize that companies like SpaceX are out-competing government rocket programs. This trend is likely to continue," Gingrich wrote.
"Instead of focusing our tax dollars on duplicative efforts, the federal government's interaction with the space industry must change. We should help these companies achieve more," Gingrich wrote.
The council needs to focus on public-private partnerships with companies such as SpaceX, where the government would invest and be paid back and "if the U.S. does not do this, our competitors will. A future where China or Russia dominates space is not a safe, secure or prosperous future for America," Gingrich wrote.
Bouncing back from failures is also vital to space programs, Gingrich said, noting that the company failed three times with its Falcon 1 launch before its success.
"This work has helped discover and drive American technological innovations at a rate that the bureaucratic, risk averse, old-space system could never have achieved," Gingrich wrote.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk's launch of the 'Starman' mannequin into can inspire young people, Gingrich wrote. "This extraordinary video from this car orbiting Earth makes clear to every young person in America that having a career in the space industry—even actually going to space—is as real, tangible, and achievable, as becoming a dentist, a lawyer, a civil engineer, or any other job that requires focus and hard work," Gingrich wrote.
SpaceX posted more than four hours video of 'Starman' on YouTube.
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