You know, the President is not nearly as stupid as his critics try to portray him to be. In fact, he has been pretty shrewd and smart on many major issues. He may not be the best spoken person around, but he is not stupid. Do you think that he may have had some method to his madness here? For what if private industry does create and provide launch services? What if they do send probes on to the moon? Do you think that maybe NASA might, by dint of budget and language, be encouraged to make use of it? It is an intriguing possibility, since the actual language and such is not yet fully available, or perhaps even fully worked out.In my post on this subject, I didn't write about what the next big advance in space travel would be or who would create it, only that it would happen and that NASA would need to be agile enough to react to and exploit it. I noticed that the proposal didn't make any mention of commercial efforts, but I didn't pick up on the idea that the absense of such points was something of a challenge to the private sector.
Even if not, the timeline and scope provide ample opportunity for private space enterprise to prove its claims. The President has made his announcement and hit the button of his obligation here. He has honored the ideal that was NASA, and provided a cover to try to re-organize and re-focus the agency. In so doing, he has also effectively issued a challenge to the private sector: do it better and do it faster.
For if industry can, then there is the possibility of NASA having to use those services. If not, then the government can proceed on down the same tired path.
Also, for more on the space effort, Jay Manifold has been blogging up a storm over at A Voyage To Arcturus. There is too much good stuff there to summarize, but if you're interested in this subject, check it out. Alright, one interesting thing I saw there was this conceptual illustration of a modular Crewed Exploration Vehicle. Of course as both Jay and the Laughing Wolf note, the CEV is meant to accompish many and varied goals, which means that while it may be versitile, it won't do any of its many tasks very well... but it is interesting nonetheless.