Sometime in 2015, SpaceX plans to perform the inaugural launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. When it flies, it will be the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V that sent astronauts to the Moon. Its entire development costs will have been paid for by SpaceX on its own. As I mentioned on page 61 of a book I released last year called The Plundering of NASA: “Now ponder this idea. If SpaceX can build a rocket with three quarters of the payload capacity of the SLS Block 1 without taxpayer money, what could they do with just a fraction of the money that is being spent on SLS?”
I wish congress would give NASA funding in 10 year blocks, and keep their noses out of it in the interim.