Space travel has historically been a very inefficient process. They shoot up these massive titanic rockets to lift off a comparatively small payload; you see massive boosters and a comparatively small space shuttle straddled on the side.
What happens to these massive metallic rocket boosters?
They are released after reaching orbit and fall back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere.
For a massive organization like the US Government with trillions of dollars to burn, spending a couple of billion on rocket boosters doesn’t seem like much. But, when you’re the CEO of a company that doesn’t have the taxpayer’s money to spend, and you’re putting your own money on the line, you learn a few things. You learn how to cut the fat, to be leaner, smarter, faster — how to do it better.
And with that you get new innovations like SpaceX landing the first ever orbital rocket landed straight upwards, which means reusable rocket technology, which means more cost efficient space travel.
And that is why “shutting down” NASA could very well be the best thing to happen to space travel.