SpaceX has a full launch manifest for placing satellites into earth orbit. Others like XCOR are betting there are revenues in $1M-a-seat space tourism. All they need to do is build a safe, reliable, reusable flying machine.
One of the advantages and disadvantages of a free market economy (or mostly free market) is that something like commercial space travel on large scale will happen when people believe there is money to be made - and will ONLY happen when people believe there is money to be made.
Maybe that time is now. Or if not now, then soon.
If the commercial crew effort works, and will know a lot more if SpaceX launches on Saturday morning, they and presumably other competitors will free up NASA to move beyond low Earth orbit and work once again on manned missions in the solar system.
For much more on SpaceX, we highly recommend this:
I always respect America. Before this decade, the notion that killing NASA is a bad thing will fade. People will see private companies sustaining the space industry and that will be good for tax payers.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.