Its nice to see aviationweek address this. How many manned spacecraft and launch systems are in the works right now? And what is the demand again? Rediculous. You would think the ISS is the MGM Grand Hotel!
The reality is, that eventually the wheels will come off this ill convceived concept and basically you will have a single contractor possibly providing a few launches a year to the ISS. And how is that really different than just having NASA provide a vehicle and launch system through contractors? I HAVE NO IDEA. This is if the Soyuz, Orion, SLS, X-37 manned variant or whatever else the federal government has in the works just dont do it themselves. Without a robust market demand there will not be competition and thus the price to fly will not have any real downward pressure. The NASA folks may be great rocket scientist but they really need to go take Econ 101 again to re-learn the simple concept of supply and demand… And remember, all this is going on without a real plan or goal for America’s future in space. Look at the SLS with its massive price tag, looonnggg design and test program (decades long) and lack of mission. What are the chances of this thing gets seriously funded through multiple administrations and congresees? NEXT TO ZERO.