Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Robert Oldendick

Second Reader

Joel Wooten


The space exploration industry has entered a new era with companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin leading the way to the privatization of space. This paper examines public opinion regarding the source of space exploration funding and proposes possible motivations for these sentiments. This is followed by an assessment on NASA’s investment trends into the commercial space industry. Both probes review the past decade, to reveal the public-private relationship in this new era and finally, conclude whether or not public opinion plays a role in the degree of NASA investment and what that role may be.

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