<br />From the diagrams it looks like the capsule will have an asymmetric heat shield. Is this design finalized? Maybe that will placate the lifting body nuts a little bit! <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <br /><br />Personally I like space planes. I wanna see a spacecraft that can come back from orbit and make a pinpoint landing on a common, run of the mill runway. But, I am not about to hold up space development while all of the kinks get worked out of spaceplanes and RLVs. What if Columbus decided he wasn't going to cross the Atlantic until steam ships were available? What if the American pioneers decided to halt the westward expansion until the railroads and highways were completed (OK, the native American probably would have gotten behind that one!). You get the idea. All the research NASA has done on spaceplanes is still there--they didn't burn the shuttle blueprints or wipe all the wind tunnel data from the computers. Once private industry sees that there can be money to be made in space that info. will be there for them to build whatever transportation systems they see fit. As far as basic science and exploration goes a tractor trailer makes a poor exploration vehicle--especially where there are no roads. Better to use an SUV. Thats what a capsule is.