I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. The space age from Sputnik to the Apollo moon landings to Viking and the rovers on Mars. The quest for space exploration, scientific discoveries, technological developments--initiated mostly by the national government. But also, during that period, the proliferation by the military industrial complex of nuclear weapons and the building of nuclear reactors for energy production.
During this period, I heard proponents applaud our achievements when the projects were constructive (e.g. space exploration) and the opponents when the projects were destructive (e.g., nuclear weapons).
And there was continuing refrain that went "why are we spending billions to send men to the moon when we could be spending it to eliminate poverty and disease."
Lately, we've heard the same "guns versus butter"-style refrain about Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, the billionaires who are heralding the era of commercialization of space travel and exploration. Not exactly "guns" in this case, but the term "toys" to characterize a space rocket and space plane is derisive enough.
I applaud the peaceful commercialization of the space industry because it contributes to the human quest for discovery and truths in science and the further development of technology. We all benefit, eventually, from this quest--whether it's pursued by government or the private sector. And I believe we have enough resources to combat poverty and disease at the same time.
I applaud the peaceful development of nuclear energy. But I strongly oppose wasteful spending on nuclear weapons, which should be universally eliminated.