sure, the project is expensive but people need to understand there are immense differences between NASA's vehicle and the others. Not to mention all three companies are standing on the shoulders of a giant, NASA, and their projects are all dwarfed by what nasa is attempting to create.
SpaceX: hopefully delivering the CST-100 version 2, but honestly hasnt contributed a whole lot other than a sexy brand to the effort. CST100 was delivered by Boeing.
What the hell? SpaceX has the Dragon (and Dragon 2), not the CST100. SpaceX has had several successful, on-schedule, on-budget flights of the Dragon for cargo (including safe reentry) which has demonstrated the functionality of many subsystems that will be used in the manned version. The Dragon 2 has potential to be the safest manned capsule of the bunch - it can abort at literally any point in the launch profile, land with pinpoint accuracy, and has a strong enough heatshield for a return from Mars. Not to mention the Falcon 9 is the only rocket out there that can suffer an engine failure and still make mission. They have another rocket in development, again using many proven systems with which they have flight heritage, which will have more capability than any other existing rocket - Falcon Heavy. It has comparable capabilities to SLS Block I and is scheduled to fly 2 years sooner. Crossfeed capabilities will improve the capacity even more.
Boeing: not sexy, just practical. a design ripoff of many other NASA firsts, it is restricted to suborbital and cannot carry cargo.
I would say not sexy or practical, given that all they've demonstrated is a mockup and word is there are some serious technical issues with wind tunnel testing, etc. There's a good chance the CST100 won't survive the commercial crew downselect in August, and there's no indication that Boeing cares much about this.
Entirely wrong. This is an orbital craft - did you not see the dozens of marketing pictures of this docking with the ISS? This is a neat little craft with some significant development and test milestones already checked off - successful flights of a complete engineering model, engine tests, and reviews. They also have a launch scheduled for 2015, which they are financing on their own dime to demonstrate capability and earn at least some initial flight heritage. This has a unique capability, too, with the ability to abort during almost any time in the flight and land on runways all around the world.
NASA SLS: cargo, crew, suborbital, and interplanetary transport system. SLS is to be capable of lifting astronauts and hardware to near-Earth destinations such as asteroids, the Moon, Mars, and most of the Earth's Lagrangian points. SLS may also support trips to the International Space Station, if necessary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
This is a paper rocket at this stage in the game. I can make a powerpoint presentation about a system that will go to Mars and back tomorrow - doesn't mean I can deliver. Sure, this rocket COULD be developed, and all of these exciting missions COULD happen, if we doubled NASA's budget - as it is, they don't even have the funding to properly develop and test the first article, much less finance an extended campaign of missions. Every dollar spent on this would go 5 times as far developing commercial crew capability, but it wouldn't funnel money to Alabama to build obsolete and failure-prone SRBs, so congress (and therefore NASA) will never drop it if they can help it.