Anybody remember this Slashdot thread about the $1 billion per year subsidy to ULA?
. It was only two days ago.
Was ULA making any investment in propulsion technology? Well they started using the Russian RD-180 in 2000 and didn't start looking for a replacement until 2014. This was after SpaceX starting to compete with them for heavy launch contracts and everyone realized that Russia could stop deliveries because of political considerations.
Meanwhile, Space has been continuously investing in new rocket technology, primarily with their own money. They haven't made any profit yet, it's ongoing reinvestment.
As this article shows, they are even working on extending the state of the art by extending CFD technology so that rocket engine design can benefit from advanced computation capabilities.
So how much new technology did ULA produce? What did the taxpayers get for the $1 billion per year above and beyond paying for actual launches? Sound of crickets...
Welcome to our post capitalism system. Entrenched special interests get guaranteed profit and government subsidies, obscene tax breaks and use government regulation to keep out any competition. SpaceX just got hit by the regulation trap: US Air Force Overstepped in SpaceX Certification. The report came out about two weeks ago well after the damage was already done. Business as usual. No one will be held to account.
This obvious sabotage resulted because the USAF/Lockheed/Boeing are for all practical purposes a unified conglomerate. They are all insiders, The military and government employees know that as soon as they leave the US payroll they will go to the (not really) civilian side and make even more money. When they retire from their civilian jobs they get two retirement packages: double dipping.