Elon Musk in this update post is very publicly making the point that while his wealth enabled him to ‘launch’ SpaceX the prices they are charging are ‘real’ and sustainable over the long run not subsidized. Seems that he is proving that when you are talking about certain classes of product America is still the leader, you just can’t carry old infrastructure, including old thinking, along for the ride.
Had a look at Blue Origin’s website and their factory, the thing that strikes me about all of the eSpace companies is that they are quite modest in size, set up for clean, smooth, flexible manufacturing and have a modest work force. I assume that they have developed a significant network of supporting suppliers, small and large and do only key operations in house.
They are using modern tools and techniques, informed by a huge legacy of knowledge and the tools that the legacy has created. This is the sort of thing that America is very good at, it requires motivated people working in trust based teams, with accountability, bull headedness, hard headedness, willingness to fail and a refusal to let the risk of, or even the actuality of failure, to get in the way of progress. Small entrepreneurial companies are infinitely better at this that big ones. Especially big ones with any ties to the gov’t/mil world and its utter aversion to risk or failure.