ericjones12398 writes "NASA, formerly one of the most recognized and popular federal programs both domestically and internationally, is taking some risks by outsourcing to SpaceX. For example, Charles Bolden of NASA told a presidential advisory committee that outsourcing to Musk’s company was “disruptive.” Indeed, Musk makes some highly questionable claims regarding the demand for space travel and his ability to provide it at a discount. For example, Musk claims that with a vertically integrated company, he can get America into space at a lower price than the Chinese. He also claims that there is a massive, bottlenecked demand for space travel that only he can unleash.
Some question the quality of Musk’s spacecraft. The company’s launch vehicles simply do not measure up to the specs that are required. As of May 2011, not a single one of Musk’s vessels were “man rated,” meaning that he cannot legally put human passengers on them. While this won’t prevent Dragon from carrying cargo to the ISS, it does present a substantial hurdle that Musk and co will have to overcome if they wish to become viable players in the private commercial space race. SpaceX also has a spotty track record of launches at best, failing to launch Falcon 1 until five years after promised. The company tends to deliver, but does so often many years after promised. Musk struck back by saying that “in the space business, that’s on time.”"
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