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Made a separate thread for discussion of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Both programs are looking like they are going to fly in 2019; this would be the first time since 2011 an American rocket will carry crew. Exciting times. SpaceX recently put out a fairly extensive update on the status of their program; https://imgur.com/a/CIuhH0i
Put this in its own topic instead of the space thread because it deserves its own discussion, and is darkly hilarious. SpaceX and its low launch costs for the Falcon 9 have already been squeezing Russian launch providers and ULA out of the market. This will only get worse if the Block 5 Falcon 9 provides the advances in reusability that are promised (and if BFR lives up to Elon's dreams it will blow everything out of the water). European launch provider Arianespace has been feeling the heat too; their Ariane 5 is a reliable but dated (compared to Falcon) architecture, and the Ariane 6 is an incremental improvement at best, which lacks reusability (and uses a hydrolox/solid first stage for some reason). The major German publication Der Spiegel recently interviewed Alain Charmeau, the head of Arianespace; http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/technik/alain-charmeau-die-amerikaner-wollen-europa-aus-dem-weltraum-kicken-a-1207322.html An English summary/discussion can be found here; https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/05/ariane-chief-seems-frustrated-with-spacex-for-driving-down-launch-costs/ There are some choice quotes in that article; Still cheaper than ULA. Also, US government payloads have more oversight/stricter requirements than commercial payloads, which drives up costs. About two sentences later he admits that Arianespace couldn't exist without subsidies from European governments. Next part; Obviously Elon Musk thinks it is, otherwise he wouldn't be telling his for-profit business to develop reusability. Also, considering that Falcon 9 (especially Block 5) isn't an utterly ridiculous architecture like STS, it's certainly cheaper to reuse. Here's the real money quote; "My subsidized jobs program can't compete with SpaceX because they get government contracts!" Still better than SLS though. Also, Blue Origin is going to steal your identity;