BUT Can the Commercial Sector do Space?
With the recent demise of the ARES program, we are left without an institutional solution for accessing space. Not just returning to the Moon, etc, but maintaining our presence in orbit (ISS) without relying on someone else's technology for transportation. The cancellation of that program leaves a staggering hole in our plans for exploring space over the next 20 years. These were our "heavy lifters" – the machines designed to carry serious payloads aloft – the enablement of such grand plans as returning to the Moon and establishing a laboratory there, and carrying Man to Mars and beyond. The reasons cited were over-runs in costs and budgeted time. The idea was that the commercial sector would step in and show the Government "how to do space."