Occasionally, outsourcing does make sense, especially when we are dealing with a government agency wrought with politics and bureaucracy such as NASA is. Elon Musk founder of PayPal has invested heavily in his new company Space X - Space Exploration Technologies and has been rewarded with a $1.6 billion dollar contract to provide the resupply program for the ISS when NASA's Space Shuttle is finally retired next year.
Mr. Musk and Burt Ruttan's private space venture along with Sir Richard Branson are making real headway into opening up space for commericial and private ventures. But will any of this result in "breakthrough propulsion" systems? Will we see in our lifetimes the coloniztaion of other planets and moons?