Elon Musk is going to Mars, with or without NASA.
Musk also understands a suborbital adventure or even the two hundred mile trip to the International Space Station represent baby steps compared to a trip to Marts, which is millions of miles away.
Nevertheless, the launch of the SpaceX dragon this Saturday for its maiden voyage to the International Space Station is an important milestone and a helpful way to measure the progress of the ambitious commercial space industry.
Right now commercial space companies like SpaceX or feasting on NASA contracts. They plan to use these contracts to demonstrate their ability to steeply reduce costs. But if they want to realize their higher ambitions, like going to Mars, entrepreneurs like Musk realize they will probably need to work outside of NASA, and go it alone.