Heisenberg wrote:Project Apollo was probably the greatest engineering achievement of all time. I have no problem acknowledging that, and I find that whole period absolutely fascinating (although the idea that it has any bearing on the superiority of "American capitalism" is a bit of a reach, lol).
But SpaceX successfully getting two guys to the International Space Station after 10 years of being very heavily subsidised by the American government is hardly a great milestone in manned space exploration, is it?
Yes, because they basically reduced the price of taking KGs in to orbit significantly
. They should be able to outcompete the Soyuz and Arianne 5-6 out of the market if both don't introduce any significant improvements.
The long impact of this is that space exploration and research is more affordable for everyone now because of this. Be it doing research, making stations in space or on some planets etc etc etc.
Also an important factor here is that it was mostly done using private money. Meaning that the state subsidies were very small compared to what they used to be. Previously it took dozens of billions and in some cases hundreds of billions to achieve this. Now it took what, some private capital and 5bn of governmnet subsidies? That is a steal.
Russians are investing dozens of billions of dollars in to their rocketry and are not having even 1/10th of the output that Musk has achieved recently. The only comparable programs are in Europe but Musks rockets seem to be ahead efficiency wise, at least for now.