Another way to look at it is that what matters is the pioneering work that SpaceX has actually accomplished (and stands to accomplish) that none of their competitors has (primarily, drastically lowering the cost of reaching space while achieving high and increasing launch rates).
> What matters is that Tesla plans to bring EVs to every household in the future, not that it’s shipped about the same number of EVs as Nissan to date?
Without any intended sarcasm, I would answer this question with 'yes'.
The latter is a revolution. The former is just an incremental evolution. Laudable, but nowhere close to the same level of accomplishment.
Not at all. I am just pointing out that the popularity of SpaceX stems from much more than just ‘wishful thinking’. In a short time and against all odds, they’ve established themselves as the leading space launch provider, and they have a realistic chance to vastly increase that lead in the years to come. Speaking of pioneering technology, they are the first and so far only entity to launch, land, and reuse production orbital rockets on a regular basis. This may well prove to be a revolution, especially considering how many experts said it was impossible.
Handwaving their accomplishments away because too many people cheer them too loudly strikes me as unfair and disingenuous.
For example, here's the CNES (French space agency) Director of Launchers discussing SpaceX's achievements, and his desire to design Ariane NEXT to be similar to Falcon 9:
> For Falcon 9 for instance, they use a toss-back trajectory. An engine is relit while going against the aerodynamic flow, which is actually quite complicated to achieve. We worked on that with ONERA, the French national aerospace lab, and realized it’s pretty complicated.
and, right after talking about how SpaceX's design stages lower, has a common engine between stages, and allows experimentation in landings:
> Prometheus can be used in a new architecture which we call Ariane Next. It will have 7 such engines on the first stage and 1 on the second stage, and can be used in expendable or reusable mode, allowing to experiment reuse easily. The objective is to learn by testing, which is not a European speciality.
There's no greater endorsement than by a competitor.