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Let's talk about SpaceX for a moment.

Of all the launcher designs I've seen over the years, the Falcon / Dragon program is one of the most sensible ever. Every aspect of the design that I've seen fulfills the twin goals of reliability and low operational cost. They didn't try to create an awesome/cool system with unproven concepts (space plane, scramjet, rotors for re-entry, etc.). Instead, they took the best exisiting and well proven concepts, wrapped them in a nice package, tested it well, and made it work.

The existing large players like LockMart optimize for performance and their own profit; the small players all seem to be trying unproven (and in most cases rather dubious) concepts. Compared to how the orbital launch industry normally works, SpaceX is a refreshing dose of sanity. I salute their hard work and engineering prowess, and I wish them much success and profits.

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