Stand by for dramatic and radical change in the emerging passenger space travel industry—but don’t count on NASA or major aerospace service providers to propel the public into space anytime soon.

Since the early 1970s, NASA seems to mean No Adult Supervision Apparent. The unaffordable space shuttle, for example, is a failure in trying to reduce cost for accessing Earth orbit. Moreover, companies out to build the space agency’s replacement for the shuttle — the Crew Exploration Vehicle — are doing so under an arrangement that cripples innovation, creativity, and the chance for breakthroughs.

Thus says Burt Rutan, the private airplane and spacecraft designer, who is anything but shy when it comes to telling the world where he thinks the United States – and NASA in particular, has gone wrong since the heyday of human spaceflight.

Rutan, a private rocket designer, is the leader of the privately-backed team that flew three suborbital flights last year of the piloted SpaceShipOne — is now busily working on but secretive about the details of a new passenger-carrying spaceliner that is coming together at his company Scaled Composites in Mojave, CA.

Rutan made several appearances here Nov. 12, including his first stop which was to help judge a student spaceship and spaceport design competition hosted by the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum and the Department of Aerospace at Metropolitan State College. Dozens of student teams vied for awards under the watchful eye of event partner, Space Voyage Educational Adventures America of Lakewood, Colorado.

More here.