Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket is ready for its first drop test.
Posting this because of this comment:
The faster, cheaper plan: Have Boeing and SpaceX compete to get capsules into orbit, choose the winner. Contract out development of a lander and transfer stage. Launch the lander and transfer stage aboard a Falcon Heavy, launch a Crew Dragon aboard a Falcon 9 or a Starliner aboard an Atlas. Rendezvous with the transfer stage, dock, and go to the moon.
The Atlas, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy are proven. The Starliner and Crew Dragon are well into development and hopefully we'll see a crewed Dragon flight by next spring. Therefore the only things remaining to develop and test are the transfer stage (which would probably have a Bigelow expandable habitat module) and the lander.
The way things are these days, I agree
To be honest, I don't see anyone else coming up with a solution any quicker than NASA from here.
According to wiki, the plan is for a manned lunar landing in 2024. Bearing in mind that the moon is simply a staging post, we should let things proceed so that the other elements needed for Mars are developed, and we don't take our eyes off the ball. The moon is nice, but we've been there, while Mars has drooliscious Bobby Draper, and Epstein drives. Breaking out the duct tape and going into shortcut mode makes no sense to me. We will need these systems developed properly, so we can found the MCRN on a solid footing.