Do you believe that we'd be better served by simpler (but potentially much more dangerous) craft flown by private industry? If not, why is the NASA approach better, seeing as how it is mired in both politic from without and bureaucracy/process from within?
Hell, even 20-50% safety isn't necessarily a productive strategy, if you pay too much for it.
I think the main trick is to reduce the unit cost/training investment in astronauts so that we can send up more, and making very cheap vehicles to get them there, so that we'll not have to worry about losing a big investment when (not if) something goes wrong. Putting hundreds of millions of trained meat into billions of dollars worth of aerospace tech is not sustainable.
If it would get me to the moon with a 1 in 3 chance, hell, give me a banana and call me Albert VII.
Space shuttles exploding will definitely kill people.
We're human. Fellow humans died in this pursuit of space exploration. Is it inevitable? Maybe. Probably.
Does it still hurt? Hell yes.
Space shuttles exploding will definitely kill people."
Don't make such a big jump from the first to the second. You could have also said, "Extreme space exploration risk might or might not kill people." Fact is, in both finances and space exploration, in rare cases it has led to the death of those involved (directly or indirectly). But those cases are rare and the rewards are so great, and so we press on.
When the person making the rules (the government) is no longer subject to the rules, but held responsible when they're broken, do you think they'll get looser or stricter?
And now not only does your company have to obey safety laws or whatever else applies, you've got insurance companies, shareholder lawsuits, and so on.
The Challenger/Columbia astronauts are (correctly) treated as heroes who sacrificed for the greater good. The Space Inc. astronauts who die will be considered victims of corporate negligence.
Loosing 7 lives is a tragedy. For the CEO, knowing loosing those lives will cost the company everything, they are going to pay more attention to safety, than a government bureaucracy.